Vodafone rolls out high-speed fibre broadband for towns

Telco’s first 1 gigabit services launched using its €450 million fibre joint venture with ESB

Vodafone Ireland’s Ciaran Barrett, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and Peter Collins, managing director of Carrigaline Court Hotel:  LightSpeed is being initially launched in Carrigaline. Photograph: Darragh Kane

Vodafone Ireland’s Ciaran Barrett, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and Peter Collins, managing director of Carrigaline Court Hotel: LightSpeed is being initially launched in Carrigaline. Photograph: Darragh Kane

 

Vodafone will today launch LightSpeed Broadband, its new high-speed fibre broadband offering delivered over its €450 million Siro fibre infrastructural joint venture with ESB.

LightSpeed is being initially launched in Carrigaline, 10 miles from Cork city, making it the first of 51 regional urban “fibre-hoods” that will be connected via the service over the Siro network.

Dundalk and Sligo are also among the early towns being wired for Siro.

Vodafone said its LightSpeed customers will get access to broadband speeds of up to 1,000 megabits (or one gigabit), which is up to 10 times faster than many fibre packages currently on the market.

Its home packages will offer a “minimum speed” of 350 megabits. Prices for LightSpeed Broadband bundles begin at €49, rising up to €111 for the one gig package, and €129 for an unlimited business package bundled with voice.

Siro’s network comprises fibre strung across ESB electricity poles and wired directly into the side of buildings, dramatically increasing internet speeds for customers over broadband delivered via telephone exchanges.

Vodafone beat off competition from the likes of BT to join forces with ESB to build-out the fibre network. Siro is not aimed at big urban centres such as Dublin, but towns in regional areas.

The Siro joint venture will operate as a wholesaling business, selling network access to customer-facing companies who then resell the service on to their own client bases.

Apart from Carrigaline, other areas pencilled in for access to Siro include Cavan, Dundalk, Westport, Castlebar, Sligo, Tralee, Navan, Letterkenny and Wexford.

Siro is believed to be the main competitor to Eir, formerly Eircom, to win the tender to provide the Government’s new incentivised rural broadband initiative.

The State wants an operator to commit to wiring up previously commercially unviable areas of the country, bringing high-speed broadband to many farms and small hamlets that have hitherto been ignored by private telco operators.