Ireland will have fastest rural broadband in world by 2020 – Eircom’s Carolan Lennon (video)

18 Jun 2015

Eircom's Carolan Lennon said that within five years Irish rural communities will have the fastest broadband in the world.

By 2020 some 1.9m homes and businesses across Ireland – including 300,000 premises in rural communities in more than 1,000 communities – will have access to broadband future-proofed to 1Gbps and beyond.

This will be well beyond the minimum 30Mbps target set by the Irish Government.

It is clear that Eircom isn’t holding back in terms of its ambition to win the tender for the National Broadband Strategy, which aims to connect every home and business with state-of-the-art broadband.

“Today half the country is covered by a broadband service from Eircom, which is more than any of the other networks out there,” said Carolan Lennon, managing director of Eircom Wholesale.

“By the end of 2016 that will be 70pc of the country covered and by 2020 that will be in excess of 80pc. Within that 300,000 homes and businesses will have a fibre-to-the-home solution.

“We are in the middle of a €2.5bn infrastructure investment, so an awful lot of money is going into that, powering the economy.

“If you look at the recent State of the Internet for 2014, it shows that Ireland is fourth in Europe and seventh in the world for broadband speeds. Eircom’s rollout has been a big factor in driving those scores.”

Future proof

Lennon said the plan is to overcome the reality that many homes in Ireland are spread out along ribbon communities

“The only way to deliver a minimum of 30Mbps and future proof it is to bring fibre to the home to every home, farm and business.”

Lennon said that out of the 300,000 premises, there are some that will go from zero broadband to 1Gbps in the next few years.

She said that regardless of whether Eircom wins the State’s tender, it will press ahead and connect the 1,070 communiities.

“We already operate the largest telecoms network, we have 12,000km of fibre rolled out and by the time we are finished the current rollout that will be 18,000. We have access to 1.4m poles that we can string lightweight fibre on.

“We also have the best field force in the country and they know every highway and byway and piece of infrastructure.

“If we are fourth in Europe and seventh in the world today what will we be when we can deliver 1Gbps to all those homes and businesses?

“I don’t believe there will be a rural community in the world that will have that level of connectivity and for Ireland to take that spot is just fantastic,” she said.

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