Siro revenues multiply as network now live in 17 towns
ESB/Vodafone joint venture at ‘advanced’ stage in bringing broadband to 11 more towns
Siro was one of three shortlisted bidders for the troubled National Broadband Plan (NPB) tender but pulled out in September 2017. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Siro, the joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone that was a onetime bidder for the National Broadband Plan, has reduced it losses as it rolls out its regional broadband network.
The company reported a sharp rise in revenue to €3.17 million in 2017 from €409,000 in 2016. After tax, it lost €27.8 million over the 12 months, down on the €28.9 million loss incurred in 2016.
Siro provides wholesale fibre access to homes and businesses in regional towns to telco providers over the ESB distribution network. In its results, the company says it is now providing services in 17 towns: Dundalk, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Tralee, Cavan, Wexford, Skibbereen, Drogheda, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Ennis, Castlebar, Westport, Newbridge and Carlow.
It said construction was at an advanced stage in a further 11: Swords, Balbriggan, Finglas, Tyrellstown, Bray, Greystones, Killarney, Mallow, Kilkenny, Athlone and Shannon.
It noted the capital-intensive nature of building a new network, which is reflected in the figures. The company is dependent on its shareholders’ financial support.
ESB and Vodafone have agreed to put off any demand for repayment of €96 million in loans until at least November 2019. They have also agreed to provide further funding since the 2017 year end.
It said a high level of investment was expected as the rollout continues, “with revenue gradually rising to reflect the growing customer base”.
Siro was one of three shortlisted bidders for the troubled National Broadband Plan (NPB) tender but pulled out in September 2017, saying that there was no longer a “business case” for its continued participation.
The announcement followed agreement earlier that year between then minister for communications Denis Naughten and Eir to remove 300,000 homes from the NPB, leaving 542,000 for the State-subsided scheme.