Irish Tech Leaders Honoured for Internet Innovation: Blacknight Receives Global i2Coalition Award

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Carlow-based Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon and CTO Paul Kelly have been awarded the Internet Entrepreneur Award by the i2Coalition and were given the award in person at the organisation’s annual Congressional Fly-in in Washington D.C. on June 27th, 2024. 


The i2Coalition, also known as the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, represents the global internet infrastructure industry. The Internet Leadership Awards are the i2Coalition’s opportunity to honour members of the internet governance community for their contributions to making the internet a better place. 


“Blacknight has worked with the i2Coalition for over a decade,” said Michele Neylon, “It’s an honour for a small Irish tech company like us to be recognised on the global level by our peers with this award.” 


Blacknight has been involved with i2Coalition for over ten years, helping to shape policy and attitudes towards critical internet infrastructure and services. i2Coalition’s work focuses on public policy, information and education, and advocacy aimed at promoting innovation and ensuring the continued growth and operation of the internet. The organisation engages in various initiatives to address key internet policy issues and works to create a better internet environment for users, businesses, and communities worldwide. 


“Not many people think about the infrastructure side of this business,” said Paul Kelly, CTO of Blacknight, “but it’s a critical part of everything we do and everything we stand for. This award shows that Ireland has a place at the table with the other big players in the internet infrastructure space.” 

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Based in Carlow, Blacknight was founded in 2003 by Neylon and Kelly with one server and a plan to host websites. Since then, they’ve grown to own and operate several data centres in Ireland, employ over fifty people across Ireland, host tens of thousands of customers, be accredited by ICANN, and turn over several million Euro in revenue. Blacknight is known for its friendly and efficient customer service. 


“Blacknight has grown into Ireland’s premier web hosting provider, through not only staying abreast of the latest technology - but also its legendary customer service,” said the i2Coaltion in a recent press release announcing the prize. “Michele Neylon and Paul Kelly have built a tech company that Ireland can be proud of - one that delights end users, partners, and even regulators.” 


Neylon attended the awards ceremony in person in the United States capital, Washington D.C., last week during the annual i2Coalition Congressional Fly-In, a major gathering of key internet infrastructure people and organisations. Other award recipients include Justin Paine, VP, Global Head of Trust & Safety at Cloudflare, for the Internet Community Leadership Award, Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian, Internet Archive, for the Lifetime Achievement in Building Internet Infrastructure Award; and Dr. Laurie Locascio, Director of NIST and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology for the Champion of the Internet Award. 

About Blacknight

Blacknight ( are an Irish based, ICANN accredited domain registrar and hosting company. Recipients of several awards for their revolutionary use of social media, Blacknight are one of Europe’s most cutting edge Internet companies. Blacknight constantly seek to lead the way by introducing innovative solutions for its client base and provide dedicated servers and co-location as well as a comprehensive range of Microsoft Windows and Linux based hosting services and domain name registration services to business globally. IP transit services and other solutions for more demanding business and academic customers are offered a la carte. Fibre broadband services for both business and domestic users are also available throughout most of Ireland.

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