1m users include mobile phone and device holders, public sector workers and multinationals’ staff.
As the countdown begins for the awarding of the pivotal contracts for the National Broadband Plan to connect 542,000 premises, including an additional 84,500 identified for the High-Speed Broadband Map, the various operators are setting out their stall.
Three companies are shortlisted for the vital contracts: Eir, Siro and Enet.
In recent weeks, Eir signed a major deal with the Irish Government that will see 300,000 premises connected to state-of-the-art fibre, bringing the company’s total fibre footprint in Ireland to 1.9m premises by the end of 2018.
This week, Open Eir director of sales, marketing and service, Orlagh Nevin, said that more than 1,000 people, including contractors, are working on its rural fibre deployment, and a milestone of 40,000 fibre-to-the-home locations in rural Ireland has just been passed.
Siro is using existing ESB infrastructure to bring 1Gbps services to 50 towns around Ireland and about 500,000 premises in 2018. The company is a €450m joint venture between ESB and Vodafone.
Enet is a wholesale-only carrier that has responsibility for operating the 94 metropolitan area networks (MANs) around Ireland on behalf of the Government. This is in addition to a unique dark-fibre backhaul infrastructure transiting the rail and gas network, and three proprietary metro networks, including a 100km fibre ring in Dublin. Enet also operates one of the largest licensed wireless networks in the country.
In the latest barrage, Enet CEO Conal Henry has revealed that the company’s network now serves more than 1m end users, including mobile phone and device owners, students, residential users, public sector workers and staff in multinational organisations.
“The networks we operate, including the metropolitan area networks, are ensuring that Irish citizens and businesses receive world-class broadband connectivity,” Henry said.
“We are facilitating more balanced regional development, and are actively assisting in the retention and expansion of foreign direct investment in the regions.
“Enet’s open-access model has broken the single-supplier dependency and provided an amazing choice and competition right across Ireland, which is why we now have 1m users on our networks.”
Henry said that in Galway city alone, Enet has enabled more than 20 different retail service providers to compete, including Magnet, Virgin Media and Vodafone, in the delivery of a variety of services to businesses and residents in the area. These services range from 4G mobile to cable TV, wireless broadband and local loop unbundling (LLU) – whereby last-mile copper infrastructure can be connected to fibre to increase the bandwidth available.
In rural Ireland, recent projects include the construction of a one-gigabit-per-second fibre network in rural north Kerry, as well as a metropolitan fibre network in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
In the education sector, Enet supplies broadband network connectivity to numerous schools in the West of Ireland through the Schools 100Mbps project, run by the national educational and research network HEAnet on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. Nearly 40 post-primary schools are now connected to Enet networks in Galway, Mayo and Sligo.