Great contacts: Ireland now has broadband on speed dial

After more than a decade of snail- paced internet, Ireland is to enjoy high-speed broadband nationwide as two deals to provide fibre-optic services were unveiled yesterday.

The first involves Eircom’s rollout next month of fibre-optic broadband to homes and businesses, while ESB and Vodafone are gearing up to implement a joint venture that will ensure a similar service to every county in the Republic. The Government has also pledged that homes and businesses in Ireland will enjoy high-speed broadband through state-led intervention in communities where commercial services are unlikely to be provided.

Communications Minister Alex White made the announcement yesterday as he welcomed the latest developments which will see fibre-to-the-home delivered to at least 500,000 homes and businesses across Ireland.

Mr White said intense competition had seen telecommunications companies invest some €2.5bn in the Irish telecommunications market. He said that the Government was committed to ensuring that every home and business in Ireland would get high-quality internet connectivity, of at least 30Mbps, through state-led intervention in communities where commercial services were not likely to be provided.

“The commercial sector is showing clear leadership in delivering quality services to customers,” said Mr White.

“The Government intends to follow this with an ambitious investment in rural Ireland, ensuring that everyone has high-speed, high-quality broadband regardless of where they are located.”

Eircom announced yesterday its intention to immediately commence rollout of fibre-to-the-home services to 66 communities in 26 counties, starting in November. This development will see Eircom enhance its offering to customers as part of its wider programme of rolling out fibre-based services to 1.6m addresses in Ireland.

In a separate development yesterday, ESB secured approval from the European Commission to proceed with a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone Ireland in which ESB’s distribution network will be used to deliver fibre-to-the-home services. It is expected that this will deliver these services to 50 towns in 26 counties, with rollout starting early next year.

Mr White said he intended to publish a map in the coming weeks which will show the areas of planned commercial investment by 2016 and the remaining areas which will be the focus of the Government’s intervention.

A public consultation will be launched on the map, and on the technical standards that will apply to the state intervention.


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