The ESB and Vodafone have joined forces and will invest €450 million into building a 100 per cent fibre broadband network across Ireland. The companies say that its firstcustomers should be online by early next year.
Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte believes that high-speed broadband will be available to half the population by 2015 as previously promised by the Government in 2012.
Minister Rabbitte said “the development would allow parts of rural Ireland to have access to a fibre network when it would otherwise be unthinkable.”
“The State had to intervene because the commercial sector will not go into provincial Ireland and the gap between urban and rural Ireland is in danger of growing wider.” he added.
The network which will build on ESB’s existing fibre network will offer speeds of 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps bringing hi-speed connectivity to around 500,000 premises and turning Ireland into one of the world’s fastest broadband countries. Ireland will also become the first European country to use existing electricity infrastructure to deliver broadband.
Letterkenny in Co Donegal, Ballina in Co Mayo, Carrigaline in Co Cork and Tralee in Co Kerry will be among the first 50 towns targeted in the first phase of the project which will begin later this year and should be completed by the end of 2018, with a decision being made on a potential second phase.
While the ESB and Vodafone will both build and manage the network, open access will be offered to all telecoms operators in Ireland. This means that other operators can resell the fibre product to their customers at competitive prices.