BT deal with Siro will bring regional ISPs into the fibre fold

1 Dec 2016

From left: BT Ireland CEO Shay Walsh with Siro CEO Sean Atkinson. Image: Maxwells

Retail partners within BT’s existing wholesale customer base will soon be able to resell fibre services from Siro, as a result of a new network agreement between the two companies.

The new network agreement will enable its corporate, public sector and wholesale customers access to Siro’s 1Gbps fibre-to-the-building local-access network.

Siro is a €450m joint venture between Vodafone and ESB and it aims to pass 500,000 premises in 50 towns around Ireland by 2018.

‘The combination of BT’s national fibre network and Siro’s local access network will be transformative for regional Ireland and local operators’

Currently, the network is passing 40,000 premises in 17 towns, and it is live in nine towns: Dundalk, Cavan, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Tralee, Wexford, Ratheniska and Skibbereen.

It is due to go live in eight more towns: Drogheda, Westport, Portlaoise, Castlebar, Mullingar, Newbridge, Ennis and Carlow.

Regional fibre broadband spread

A spokesperson for Siro said the network agreement shows a potential way forward for wireless ISPs in regional areas that want to have a fibre future, following the deployment of the National Broadband Plan.

The National Broadband Plan – which is currently shortlisted to three contenders Eir, Siro and Enet – will require the network to be accessible on a wholesale basis. It intends to provide a minimum of 30Mbps download and 10Mbps upload speeds to 1.8m people on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Two of Siro’s existing retail partners – Carnsore Broadband and Westnet – are regional broadband providers offering services in Wexford and Castlebar.

The network interconnect agreement with BT will lay the foundation for Siro to add multiple retail partners.

“The agreement with BT is a sign of the demand by broadband providers across Ireland for an alternative national telecoms infrastructure,” said Siro CEO Sean Atkinson.

“The combination of BT’s national fibre network and Siro’s local access network will be transformative for regional Ireland and local operators.

“We expect further interest from new retail partners within BT’s existing wholesale customer base,” Atkinson said.

As a network aggregation service provider, BT can complement its own local and global fibre network with last-mile fibre access services from several other communications companies, the Government Metropolitan Area Networks and now Siro.

“This new agreement with Siro adds to our access network reach, giving us a greater choice of networks to offer our clients around the country,” said BT Ireland CEO Shay Walsh.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years