Embattled telecoms provider Eircom has announced the rollout of the next phase of its DSL broadband service to 200 rural communities across the country, broadband enabling 90pc of its phone lines in Ireland by March 2006.
Some 200 communities with almost 200,000 lines are to be enabled during the next 12 months. A total of 180 are named by Eircom today, leaving 20 locations that have still to be decided on.
Eircom, which last week was threatened with legal action by telecoms regulator ComReg that accused it of being deliberately slow to open up its network to carry rival broadband services, claims to have broadband enabled more than 1.5 million customer lines nationwide and to have 118,000 broadband connections, wholesale and retail. Of this number, it is understood that at least 30,000 are Esat BT customers using Eircom lines.
Eircom says the announcement confirms that it will keep its promise to bring broadband to every town in Ireland with a population more than 1,500.
“Having rolled out broadband to every town in Ireland, our focus is now on smaller communities,” said Eircom’s commercial director David McRedmond. “Today’s announcement to extend broadband to 200 of these communities will see broadband available to 90pc of Eircom lines. We now want to complete the job with 100pc roll out and we are working with Government to make this aspiration a reality.”
By Brian Skelly