SIRO signals plans to bring broadband to 300 small towns across Ireland

21 Sep 2016

Sean Atkinson, CEO, SIRO. Image: Keith Arkins

SIRO, the €450m joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, is investing €40m to bring its 1Gbps broadband rollout to its next six locations. It has hinted at a second phase that will potentially see it serving 300 small towns.

The six towns to be covered by the €40m investment include Mullingar, Newbridge, Ennis, Portlaoise, Drogheda and Carlow.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly, SIRO CEO Sean Atkinson said that, currently, services will be live or construction work will be underway in 17 towns across the country by the end of the year.

Future Human

These include Dundalk, Cavan, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Tralee, Wexford, Drogheda, Westport, Castlebar, Mullingar, Newbridge, Ennis, Ratheniska, Carlow and Skibbereen.

‘We have plans for a second phase, which covers over 300 smaller towns’

SIRO, the €450m joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone, is one of the three consortiums shortlisted by the Irish Government for the National Broadband Plan roll-out, which will connect close to 1m homes and businesses to high-speed fibre services.

Welcome to the fibre-hood

Recently, broadband player Digiweb joined SIRO as a retail partner and said it will launch a number of 100pc fibre-optic broadband packages for residential and business customers under the ‘Electric Broadband’ tagline.

‘We believe that Fibre-to-the-Building is the only solution capable of future-proofing Ireland’s needs’

In recent weeks, Skibbereen launched the Ludgate Hub, which, powered by 1Gbps broadband, aims to generate 500 new jobs in west Cork over five years.

“Since we started construction in August last year, we have received a fantastic response in our rollout towns,” Atkinson explained.

“We are delighted to add six new fibre-hoods to our network build. We are now passing 10,000 premises per month and working in 17 towns. SIRO gives consumers and businesses in regional Ireland access to far better services than that available in Dublin and other cities, thus reversing the digital divide and allowing them to compete more effectively for investment and jobs.”

Atkinson said that, with 25pc of Irish fixed broadband connections currently offering speeds of less than 10Mbps, SIRO aims to be a step change in connectivity for rural Ireland.

Using the ESB network, SIRO is delivered by fibre optic cable directly into buildings.

“It is our ambition to become Ireland’s new national telecoms infrastructure. We have plans for a second phase, which covers over 300 smaller towns, and we are shortlisted for the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP), which aims to deliver high-speed access to all citizens by 2020.”

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