E-Net, the managed service entity appointed to run the country’s metropolitan area networks (MANs), has pledged to drive down prices and stimulate greater demand for broadband in Ireland.
Chief operating officer George McGrath (pictured) told siliconrepublic.com: “When we announce prices next month I am positive our pricing structure will be disruptive in the current market. It will drive down prices and stimulate demand and competition as well as opening up opportunities for smaller or regional operators.”
E-Net won the Government contract to manage the State’s €70m investment in MANs. Its role is to maintain and provide access to the infrastructure for any service provider licensed by ComReg. “We are a wholesaler, in effect, dealing only with authorised operators. We are also taking the commercial risk – the state continues to own the networks and is entitled to share our revenues as a return on its substantial investment,” say McGrath.
He points out also that E-Net is committed to ‘lighting the fibre’ in every MAN regardless of the potential customer base or demand. Although the company has no doubts about the success of the project, he concedes that there is no way to predict the speed or level of take-up.
E-Net will offer authorised operators a full range of technical opportunities across each of the MANs, from simple duct and sub-duct space (customers would then lay their own optical fibre) to the use of the fibre already laid. It is anticipated that large customers will opt for ‘dark fibre’ – a totally new service in the Irish market – where the operator leases unused fibre circuits and then carries out the rest of the technical work itself.
But the simplest and probably commonest level of business will be in leasing the use of MAN circuits on a managed basis from E-Net, just as all telecoms companies routinely exchange the use of their circuits. E-Net will be responsible for 24/365 availability of the network infrastructure but will have no involvement in the services provided to the end-customers over the fibre.
By Leslie Faughnan