Eircom agrees to allow other telcos to access its fibre broadband network

31 Jan 2013

Any fibre Eircom puts in the ground it will have to open up to other licensed operators. That’s the message that came from ComReg today as it ruled Eircom has significant market power (SMP) in the area. For its part Eircom has said it welcomes the decision and will work with other operators.

ComReg today published two decisions that designate Eircom with SMP in the areas of wholesale physical network infrastructure and wholesale broadband access.

A spokesman explained that the decisions will mean that Eircom will have to offer other telecoms operators access to its fibre networks on a wholesale basis.

He said the decision mirrors evolving European policy for next-generation broadband technologies.

In a statement Eircom said it intends to work with other operators: “Eircom welcomes the regulatory certainty for our fibre investment provided by today’s decision. The network is a critical investment for eircom and Ireland.

“We now will work with ComReg and industry to launch services as quickly as possible,” Eircom said.

More than €900m being invested in ‘fibring up’ Ireland

Eircom is upgrading its existing copper access network with a next-generation access deployment, which will be delivered over a multi-year rollout.

It is understood that some €900m is being invested by existing companies in fibre infrastructure which will deliver broadband speeds of 30Mbps to 150Mbp to most homes and businesses.

The incumbent is investing €400m in its fibre infrastructure which will be available to 1m premises delivered over five phases. It will deploy fibre to the cabinet to achieve high-speed broadband. A number of phases are now under way and there is a target of completing 1m premises by December 2014.

UPC is continuing with its €500m investment in its cable network, which should see 750,000 homes access speeds of up to 150Mbps.

In recent months, Siliconrepublic.com reported that BT has been trialling VDSL technologies that will allow consumers to access potential speeds of 80Mbps. BT serves players like Vodafone and Sky with DSL services.

Under ambitious targets set out under European Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ Digital Agenda for Europe strategy, by 2020 all homes and businesses will have a minimal standard of 30Mbps broadband while half of European households will achieve 100Mbps.

Fibre image via Shutterstock

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