Ahern to unveil ESB Telecom’s €50m fibre network

2 Feb 2004

The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources will later today formally unveil ESB Telecom’s €50m nationwide fibre optic network, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

The ESB Telecom network will bring broadband access to all the key regions of Ireland including major towns and cities like Cork, Limerick, Galway, Roscommon, Letterkenny, Dundalk, Cavan, Wexford and Dublin.

The new network consists of almost 1,300km of 48-fibre cable in a figure-of-eight loop around Ireland. The ESB’s investment in the network was supported by the Government and the EU under the National Development Plan 2000-2006.

ESB Telecom marketing manager Peter Kelly told siliconrepublic.com that the company will be selling access to the fibre optic network on a wholesale basis to telcos, ISPs and various consortiums. For example, the company has enabled the first alternative telecom companies such as Amocom and Smart Telecom access to the first of the nation’s 19 metropolitan area networks (MANs) to go live in Cork, in turn giving businesses and consumers access to 6Mbps worth of upload and downloading broadband speeds.

“In terms of what we can give to telcos on a wholesale basis, we can give them access to broadband speeds of anything from 34Mbps up to 1Gb Ethernet,” Kelly said.

Kelly said ESB Telecom will be offering high-speed broadband packages including STM4 (622 Mbps) lines for €400,000 a year; STM1 (155Mbps) lines for €100,000 a year; Ethernet (100Mbps) lines for €50,000 a year and 34Mbps for €50,000 per annum.

As a utility company with access to Irish consumers it could be presumed that it is only a matter of time before ESB Telecom targets Irish billpayers with broadband services. However, Kelly refused to comment on any impending consumer offerings. He said: “Right now we are in the market as a wholesaler, offering Irish telecoms companies broadband at competitive rates. It is very difficult to say how things will develop in the future.

“In terms of the Government MANs, we now are providing access to 12 of the 19 are ready to connect to the remaining MANs,” Kelly told siliconrepublic.com.

By John Kennedy