ESB and Vodafone have signed a joint venture agreement to invest € 450 million in building a 100 per cent fibre broadband network across Ireland.
The network will offer speeds of 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps propelling Ireland into the ranks of the world’s fastest broadband countries. Ireland will also become the first country in Europe to utilise existing electricity infrastructure to deploy fibre directly to homes and businesses, initially reaching 500,000 premises.
Letterkenny in Co Donegal, Ballina in Co Mayo, Carrigaline in Co Cork and Tralee in Co Kerry will be among the 50 towns targeted in the first phase of the roll-out. The fibre will be deployed on the ESB’s existing overhead and underground infrastructure. ESB chief executive Pat O’Doherty said the network will leapfrog regional towns in Ireland ahead of major cities in terms of access to high speed communications and broadband.
Subject to European Commission approval, the network will be rolled-out across Ireland in the coming months, with the first customers able to avail of 100 per cent broadband from the start of 2015
Vodafone chief executive Anne O’Leary said the fibre broadband network will allow people working from home to send very large files to their workplace in seconds. They will also be able to hold video calls to China without disruption.
While the ESB and Vodafone joint venture will 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.