Eir says first 1,000 of 300k rural fibre homes are live – moves target to 2018

30 Sep 2016

Eir is sparking its efforts ahead of time to connect rural Ireland to fibre. Image: ENE/Shutterstock

Eir says the first 1,000 of 300,000 rural fibre homes are live – and that it is now moving its own target forward to have the latter number connected by 2018.

As rumours circulate that the National Broadband Plan (the Irish Government’s multimillion-euro stake on bringing over 900,000 rural premises into the digital age) might be delayed by a further six months, it has emerged that Eir is pressing ahead with its own plans regardless.

‘I can confirm that we now believe that we can have 300,000 FTTH homes completed by the end of 2018’

Earlier this year, Eir CEO Richard Moat told Siliconrepublic.com that Eir is targeting 300,000 homes and businesses in broadband-deprived areas with fibre to the home (FTTH), and that Eir will bring its overall broadband base to 1.9m premises by 2020.

Future Human

Eir to bring fibre to home broadband plan forward to 2018

However, a spokesman for Eir confirmed this morning that the company is bringing this target forward to be 300,000 FTTH-connected homes by the end of 2018.

He confirmed that the first 1,000 of rural broadband-deprived homes are now benefited by FTTH.

“Today, 36,000 people can order fibre to the home from Eir. 1,000 of these are in previously broadband-deprived areas,” the spokesman told Siliconrepublic.com.

He said that Eir originally intended to start its FTTH deployment in 2017, but as work crews gathered momentum and experience, the deployment began in spring this year.

“I can confirm that we now believe that we can have 300,000 FTTH homes completed by the end of 2018.”

Because Eir is one of the three companies shortlisted for the National Broadband Plan, the Eir spokesman could not comment on reports that the plan is to be delayed by a further six months. The other shortlisted companies are SIRO (the Vodafone/ESB consortium) and ENet.

He said Eir has not received any confirmation as to whether the 300,000 FTTH homes in its own rollout would constitute part of the Government’s intervention, costed at over €500m, or not.

The National Broadband Plan, which was delayed until June 2017, underpins the social and economic future of 1.8m citizens – including close to 688,000 members of the labour force, 80,000 farms and 62,000 SMEs.

The plan was delayed due to a rigorous tendering process to ensure that between 2017 and 2022, every premises in Ireland would have at least 30Mbps broadband and be future-proofed.

Questions have been put to the Department of Communications about the likelihood of further delays to the National Broadband Plan.

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