ESB and Vodafone unveil fibre broadband service in Cavan

Cavan is the first town in the State to trial 1GB broadband

A new fibre broadband service unveiled in Cavan town will allow download speeds comparable to cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong

A new fibre broadband service unveiled in Cavan town will allow download speeds comparable to cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong

 

A new fibre broadband service unveiled in Cavan town will allow download speeds comparable to cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong.

ESB and Vodafone said its joint venture will deliver 1,000Mbps (1GB) broadband, which will be piped in to homes and businesses, to 50 towns.

The first six towns to be included will be announced next month and completed by the end of the year.

The €450 million venture will roll out the fastest 1GB broadband to 500,000 homes and businesses, a quarter of all premises in the State.

With 1GB speeds, a file with 200 photos and 100 songs can be downloaded in three seconds. Under the plan, upload speeds will be the same as download speeds. Currently, most download speeds are on average 10 times faster than upload speeds.

The plan is to roll it out to 50 regional towns by 2018. If it is successful, 200 further towns will follow.

ESB-Vodafone opted for provincial towns because the larger cities in the State already have ample high-speed broadband connection options.

Sean Atkinson, chief executive of the joint venture company, said the availability of the broadband will “reverse the digital divide” and make broadband speeds in provincial towns faster than in cities.

Mr Atkinson said they will use the existing ESB transmission system to bring the new service. He said ESB-Vodafone will be wholesalers and it will be up to retailers of commercial broadband to compete on price. He expected prices for the 1GB broadband will be comparable to existing services.

The new service was demonstrated to members of Cavan County Council and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys at the council chamber on Monday.

The speeds are four times faster than the existing fastest broadband service in the State, which is provided by UPC.

Cavan is the first town where the new service has been piloted. About 300 houses in the Aughnaskerry and Rocklands estates already have 100 per cent fibre technology installed.

More than half of all residents said the 1GB was “vastly superior” and more than 30 per cent “slightly superior”. About 69 per cent of those surveyed believed it would lead to more people working from home and 56 per cent stated it would encourage people to establish their own online business.

Cavan councillors welcomed the announcement, but many complained that it would only benefit Cavan town where just a fifth of the county’s population live.

Mr Atkinson said the issue of broadband in rural areas will be tackled through the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) announced earlier this year.

He said ESB-Vodafone will be keen to participate in the scheme which aims to supply high-speed broadband to all houses by 2020.