Government set to release final broadband intervention map

Three companies – Eir, Siro and Enet – are vying for the lucrative State contract

The Government is expected to finalise the number of homes and businesses covered by the National Broadband Plan (NBP) this week.

This follows a report in The Irish Times that up to 300,000 homes are to be removed from the original intervention footprint following an agreement between the Department of Communications and the State's largest telecoms group, Eir.

The company has reportedly signed a “commitment contract” with the department to cover the homes as part of its commercial rollout, separate from the plan.

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten is expected to seek Cabinet approval for the proposed adjustment this week before telling the three shortlisted bidders – Eir, Siro and Enet – about the final intervention map.


The three companies involved in the process are rapidly building out their existing infrastructures before the bidding process later this year.


Enet has announced a €5 million investment to supply fibre to 10 new towns in the next phase of its "fibre direct" initiative. The towns are Donegal, Buncrana, Ballybofey, Stranorlar, Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Cootehill, Castleblayney, Ballinasloe and Manorhamilton.

“The fibre direct network will completely replace the out-of-date copper network which has reached its end of life. We’re building a broadband network to deliver real broadband,” said chief executive Conal Henry.

“ComReg recently reported that there were only 7,623 premises that have a fibre service – so this investment in genuine fibre infrastructure will increase that by at least a third,” he said.

ESB/Vodafone joint venture Siro, meanwhile, announced Rocket Broadband as its latest retail partner in its plan to bring fibre to 50 towns nationally.

Rocket Broadband will launch 100 per cent fibre-optic broadband packages for residential and business customers in Wexford town, with speeds ranging from 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 1,000 Megabits a second (1 Gbps), priced from €45 a month.

The Government is expected to stump up about half the cost of the National Broadband Plan here, which could be between €1 billion and €1.5 billion.

However, the State’s legacy of one-off housing and bad planning makes the overall cost of the scheme difficult to estimate.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times