Siro gets €620m to expand high-speed internet in Ireland

28 Oct 2021

From left: Siro CEO John Keaney, Vodafone CEO Anne O’Leary, ESB CEO Paddy Hayes, and European Investment Bank VP Christian Kettel Thomsen. Image: Julien Behal Photography

With this expansion, Siro’s network will reach 770,000 homes and businesses across 154 towns in Ireland.

Broadband company Siro is rolling out the second phase of its high-speed broadband network in Ireland with €620m in funding from the European Investment Bank and other lenders.

A joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, Siro has been bringing gigabit fibre broadband to premises around the country.

The new funding will extend Siro’s reach to an additional 320,000 homes and businesses, almost doubling its footprint to 770,000 premises across 154 towns in Ireland.

There will also be investment in upgrading existing infrastructure. Siro starting rolling out its 2Gbps fibre broadband service in Kilkenny earlier this month and work is under way to make the service available in 64 other Irish towns in the coming months. All 770,000 premises will ultimately have access to this faster service, the company said.

“The pandemic further underlined the importance of connectivity in keeping society and our economy functioning, and our people and communities safer,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, who was present at a launch event today (28 October).

“Siro’s investment is very positive in terms of creating greater access to reliable fibre broadband for more towns across Ireland.”

Siro was founded in 2015 to bring broadband across the country using ESB’s existing electrical network. It has focused its efforts on connecting regional towns and traditionally underserved areas.

Boost for business and remote work

The expansion and upgrade comes at a time when demand for high-speed internet is soaring after the pandemic prompted a shift to remote work and increased interest in online services for education and healthcare.

Siro CEO John Keaney called it a “landmark announcement” for the company and for Ireland because the network will play a “fundamental role” in regional development.

“Connecting over 2m people as part of a gigabit society matters because it means that more people have the option of working from home, with less cars on the roads and families able to spend more quality time with each other.”

Of the €620m funding, €170m was received from the European Investment Bank as part of its support for digital investment. Funding was also received from a syndicate of Irish and international lenders.

“Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to reimagine what is possible and to accelerate digital transformation for citizens, communities, business and future proof our economy. The last 18 months have proven how crucial connectivity is to this,” said Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O’Leary.

The investment will enable the next generation of businesses in Ireland to “remain globally competitive and capitalise on new opportunities for growth”, O’Leary added, and allow rural communities to “thrive and become more sustainable” working from home.

“This announcement today is not just a commitment to delivering high-speed connectivity, it a commitment to our economy and society – and to future generations.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic