The ESB looks close to partnering with telecoms company Vodafone Ireland to roll out a fibre broadband service across Ireland to the tune of €400m, as part of the Irish Government’s National Broadband Plan.
The ESB had recently been in discussions with a number of broadband providers and will provide its broadband service through the electricity poles that crisscross the country.
It was believed that fellow telecoms company BT had been Vodafone’s biggest competitor in the competition but for unknown reasons the company decided to pull itself out of the running.
Vodafone confirmed negotiations are at an advanced stage.
“ESB has entered into exclusive negotiations with Vodafone Ireland as the preferred bidder to form a joint venture company which will roll out fibre to homes and businesses across Ireland.”
As part of the National Broadband Plan, the ESB has ambitions to bring broadband to more than 500,000 homes and has set itself a target to have a national minimum broadband speed of 30Mbps for every home by 2015.
It is understood any plans for ESB to enter the broadband market will need to be looked over by the Competition Authority and will no doubt be a major challenge to Eircom and UPC’s more established networks.