E-Net, the body responsible for managing the Government’s national network of metropolitan area networks (MANs), has signed major deals with ESB Telecoms and BT Ireland to connect all the MANs on a fibre network. Currently 24 MANs are operational and this will be expanded to 120 towns.
E-Net said that for the first time wholesale “super fast broadband” will be made available across all of the existing MANs.
As a result, all authorised and licensed telecoms carriers will be able to avail of E-Net’s wholesale services. The company said the pricing model will change the current model with distance independence becoming a feature as well as a considerable reduction in bandwidth costs.
Michael Tiernan, CEO of E-Net, commented: “This deal brings the best services currently available globally to the regions of Ireland. By interconnecting these fibre networks, E-Net, BT Ireland and ESB Telecoms are opening the market to true competition and lifting Ireland’s broadband profile internationally.
“This is already bringing benefit to business and promoting inward investment to the regions. It is providing a level playing field in telecoms for the regions that we’ve all been working for and releases the full potential of the MANs.”
The company said new products such as fast Ethernet will allow authorised operators deliver value-added services such as video on demand, internet protocol television, fast internet and will allow business customers to access bandwidth at competitive prices.
The news was welcomed by Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey TD, who said: “I am pleased at this landmark development, which is crucial in bringing broadband to the regions and welcome the agreements between E-Net, ESB Telecoms and BT Ireland to provide interconnectivity for the MANs. The announcement today represents another significant step towards the goal of ubiquitous, affordable, true broadband in every region in the country.”
The news also received warm industry support. In a statement Colt Telecom said: “E-Net’s initiative is to be commended and whilst a lot more needs to be done to reduce the cost of interconnecting the MANs, this is a step in the right direction. Costs to interconnect the MANs need to be driven down drastically to provide increased competition and greater Operator choice for end users throughout Ireland.”
Eamonn Walsh, country director MCI Ireland, said: “MCI welcomes the co-operation between E-Net, BT Ireland and ESB Telecoms to provide open access to the regions. This will further enable MCI to continue to deliver advanced services to regionally based businesses.”
Chief executive of BT Ireland Mike Maloney said the move was an important component of the Government’s regionalisation strategy, which is critical to Ireland’s competitiveness. “Today’s announcement enhances Ireland’s regional infrastructure capability that will encourage both inward investment and indigenous business to locate right across the country.”
By John Kennedy