Siro claims to have leapfrogged Eir in fibre broadband race

ESB-Vodafone joint venture says it reached 36,500 homes with its fibre product

Siro delivers broadband through fibre optic cables which run alongside existing electricity connections  to buildings. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Siro delivers broadband through fibre optic cables which run alongside existing electricity connections to buildings. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

ESB-Vodafone joint venture Siro claims to have leapfrogged Eir as Ireland’s largest “fibre-to-the-home” broadband provider.

The company said 36,500 premises now have access to its new fibre product. This eclipses Eir’s recent announcement that it had reached 34,000 premises with its “fibre to the home” product.

Siro is investing €450 million in a fibre-to-the-building network, primarily aimed at 50 regional towns.

In a trading update, the telco, which is vying with Eir for the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP), said it was now passing about 10,000 premises per month and had a target of 200,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2017.

Using the existing ESB network, Siro delivers broadband through fibre optic cables which run alongside electricity connections directly to the building.

The company said the first phase of its fibre rollout was ongoing and would connect over 500,000 homes and businesses across 50 regional towns by 2018.

It is currently building out its network in 17 towns across the State, including Dundalk, Cavan, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Tralee, Wexford, Drogheda, Westport, Portlaoise, Castlebar, Mullingar, Newbridge, Ennis, Ratheniska, Carlow and Skibbereen.

Gaining momentum

“Despite beginning construction just over a year ago, we are now Ireland’s largest ‘fibre-to-the-home’ provider and are on our way to establishing Siro as Ireland’s new national telecoms infrastructure,” chief executive Sean Atkinson said. “We are now passing 10,000 premises per month and will speed up our rollout over the next year.”

Siro, Eir and Enet are in a competitive dialogue process with the Department of Communication regarding the NBP. At the same time, the companies are in an arms race to connect as many premises as possible ahead of the awarding of NBP contracts.

The Government’s scheme aims to connect 927,000 homes and premises across rural Ireland to high-speed broadband by 2022.

Thousands of homes in remote areas cannot be connected to broadband networks without costly interventions. The Government was also forced to extend the reach of its broadband scheme into areas served by commercial operators because of the large number of homes being left with substandard services .

The crux of the issue lies in the difference between “premises passed” by the new technology, the phrase industry uses, and those that can be connected to it, the threshold the Government insists upon.

Companies usually run their new fibre technologies to a cabinet at street level, but not all homes can access the cabinet, either because of geography or because their original copper connections have degraded.