ESB and Vodafone Get Approval for Fiber Network

  • ESB
  • Vodafone
NEWBERRY, ENGLAND — Vodafone, a communications provider with 2.4 million Irish customers across the company’s mobile and fixed line business, and ESB, an Irish sustainable energy company, have received European Commission approval for the creation of a joint venture company to deliver a 100 percent fiber-to-the-building broadband network in Ireland. The open access network, which will be available to all authorized broadband operators in the country, will help to propel Ireland into the ranks of the world’s fastest broadband countries and open up a new world of possibilities for Irish consumers and businesses.

Vodafone Ireland and ESB
ESB and Vodafone are investing €450M in the joint venture, which will utilize ESB’s existing electricity infrastructure to deliver the fiber-to-the-building network across the country. The 100 percent fibre-to-the-building network will offer broadband speeds from 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, initially reaching 500,000 premises in 50 towns in phase one.

The two companies will now go about formally establishing the joint venture. Network roll-out will commence early next year and phase one is expected to be complete by the end of 2018, with further scope for a second phase thereafter. The first technical trials of the technology are already underway in two estates in Cavan town.

Open Access Network
While the ESB and Vodafone joint venture will build and manage the fiber-to-the-building network, open access will be offered to all authorized operators in Ireland on a wholesale basis. This means that other operators can resell the fiber product to their customers, helping to stimulate the development of new services and boosting retail competition in the broadband market for all Irish consumers and businesses.

The Commission’s decision was welcomed by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD. “This decision is great news for Irish broadband customers and providers as it will drive competition in the sector, while giving 50 towns nationwide access to a market leading, future-proofed broadband service," said White. "It’s an important project which complements the Government’s National Broadband Plan to ensure that all of Ireland’s regions have access to fast broadband.”

Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB, said, “This is a huge milestone for ESB. We have invested €6 billion ($7.5 billion) in recent years in transforming and modernizing Ireland’s electricity grid, so that it can deliver this type of service. It’s consistent with ESB’s strategy of innovating, modernizing and working in collaboration with other industry leaders.”

“The fiber-to-the-building broadband network will be the most significant development in Ireland’s broadband sector to date and will be a real boost for regional Ireland and the economy as a whole. We will create an entirely new type of connectivity – seamless, instant and powerful – so that people in towns like Cavan can have the same amazing online experience as Tokyo. I look forward to the establishment of the company with Vodafone and to progressing with roll-out to enable Irish businesses and consumers to take advantage of a new world of possibilities.”


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