Enet owner investment approaches €100m

Granahan McCourt expected to tender to provide broadband services in rural areas

Granahan McCourt has now integrated the Enet network with AirSpeed Telecom, which provides wireless and fibre services to businesses. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Granahan McCourt has now integrated the Enet network with AirSpeed Telecom, which provides wireless and fibre services to businesses. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

 
Granahan McCourt, a private investment firm specialising in telecoms and media, has invested close to €100 million since it

purchased Enet, the open network access operator, in 2013.

It has now integrated the Enet network with AirSpeed Telecom, which provides wireless and fibre services to businesses and which is expected to bid in the competition to provide broadband services to areas not currently connected, as part of the National Broadband Plan. The formal tender programme for this is to be launched next week.

Granahan McCourt, led by US businessman David McCourt, added AirSpeed to its Irish portfolio in 2014, having purchased Enet the previous year.

The State’s Metropolitan Area Networks (Mans), built around 94 towns, are managed by Enet. It has also invested heavily in building its network, joining up the Mans using the CIE rail network and providing fibre directly to between 5,000 and 10,000 premises.

The company has also purchased an existing fibre network in Dublin and now has the largest national network outside of Eir.

Granahan McCourt owns a number of other businesses in the UK and around Europe but says its Dublin operation is central to its plans. Mr McCourt, who is chairman and chief executive, says it “hopes to continue the trend of moving our assets into Ireland”.

Granahan McCourt has also just announced the acquisition of Skyware Technologies, based in Manchester, which is a global leader in advanced integrated terminal solutions and satellite electronics.

Tendering process

The Government will next week launch its tender plan for the so-called State intervention in the National Broadband Plan.

As well as Eir and Siro, a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, Enet is expected to tender, along with a number of other players. The nature of the tendering process is not yet clear, with a recent dispute between the Government and Eir over the amount of the country which can be served commercially.