Eir stikes deal with InfraVia to speed up fibre roll-out in Ireland

28 Jan 2022

Image: © Andrew Gardner/Stock.adobe.com

A new Eir subsidiary will be created for its wholesale fibre broadband network, with InfraVia taking a 49pc stake.

Eir and Paris-based private equity firm InfraVia Capital Partners are establishing a joint venture that will help accelerate the roll-out of high-speed internet across Ireland.

The deal aims to speed up the existing pace of fibre broadband roll-out by 25pc through the creation of a new Eir subsidiary, Fibre Networks Ireland, in which InfraVia will have a 49pc stake.

An estimated 200,000 homes will be passed in 2022, increasing to 250,000 next year. Overall, the acceleration will see around 50,000 more homes and businesses receive high-speed internet than initially estimated.

By 2026, Eir aims to expand its services to more than 1.9m premises. In conjunction with the National Broadband Plan – which saw the first premises connected a year ago – 90pc of premises in Ireland are set to have access to fibre broadband.

Fibre Networks Ireland will provide passive broadband access exclusively to Eir’s existing wholesale arm, Open Eir, which will continue to supply wholesale broadband, voice and other services to customers of Eir and other telecoms companies.

Stephen Tighe, chief financial officer of Eir, said that the establishment of Fibre Networks Ireland would provide a “vehicle for further investment in our already extensive network” to connect people with high-speed internet across Ireland.

“Through this exciting partnership with InfraVia, we can improve our ability to connect customers faster than ever before and ensure that more homes in Ireland can access the high-speed internet that has become an increasingly important part of how we live our lives,” he added.

InfraVia is a private equity company that focuses on infrastructure and technology investments in Europe. Earlier this week, it closed a €501m growth fund aimed at Europe’s B2B tech scale-ups, supported by French and European institutions, family offices and private entrepreneurs.

The firm has already invested in more than 40 companies across 13 countries. It has experience in the telecoms sector, having recently formed a joint venture with Liberty Global to roll out fibre-to-the-home networks in Germany, as well as similar investment with Iliad in France.

“Fibre internet access is a critical service that enables an inclusive digital transformation, and we are proud to support this transition in the Republic of Ireland,” said Bruno Candès, partner at InfraVia.

“This investment builds on our existing track record in Ireland and our deep communications infrastructure experience across Europe.”

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic