E-Net awarded second network contract


E-net, the company contracted to run the Government’s metropolitan area networks (MANs),has won a second contract bringing the number of towns in which it is managing the service to 93.

Under the second phase contract E-net will manage the networks in an additional 66 towns, ten of which are already active. These include Tralee, Killarney, Navan, Longford and Bundoran.

The remaining towns will have their networks activated over the next 12 months.

MANs are Government provided and owned high-speed fibre-optic rings built around towns to provide broadband internet services.

E-net was awarded the phase one contract in 2004 for a 15-year period and it earns revenues as part of its wholesaling of capacity to private operators.

Service providers such as Vodafone use these networks to provide services to customers. Vodafone recently signed a €17-million 15-year deal to access the network, and E-net says 32 service providers are accessing the network.

The Minister for Communication Eamon Ryan said the Government had spent €98 million developing the second phase MANs covering 65 towns. The first phase was built at a cost of around €80 million.

A further network for Kinsale is due to be completed early next year.

He said the network was playing an important role in the delivery of high-speed broadband to regions throughout country.

“The ESRI predicts that around 70 per cent of our exports will be services by 2025. Most of those services will be branded digitally. Broadband for our towns will provide the basis for investment and jobs throughout Ireland,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department said the expansion of the MANs network would be guided by the Next Generation Broadband policy document, a value for money review on phase one of the project and the availability of resources.

Conal Henry, E-net chief executive, said the existence of the networks had improved the “range, quality and value of communications solutions for businesses and homes in the area”.

According to E-net around 400,000 mobile customers rely on MANs for their service each day and the network also provides digital TV and cable broadband.