Longford is the latest town to get access in Siro fibre broadband roll-out

17 May 2022

Image: © William/Stock.adobe.com

As Siro launches its €4m fibre network in Longford, the Government says Ireland’s broadband roll-out is set to surpass EU neighbours.

Siro, the broadband company set up as a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone, is rolling out its high-speed fibre network in Longford town as part of a broader move to make gigabit fibre connections more available across Ireland.

Officially launched yesterday (16 May), the €4m network will extend Siro’s services to more than 4,000 premises in the area.

Built on ESB’s electricity infrastructure, Siro’s broadband network is already available in 64 towns across Ireland, including the midland towns of Mullingar, Athlone and Portlaoise.

Overall, 430,000 homes and businesses have access to the Siro high-speed fibre broadband network – with the number expected to reach 770,000 in the next four years.

“Since the pandemic, people have begun to recognise the value that a dependable, fibre connection can add to one’s way of life or business,” said Siro CEO John Keaney.

“Siro’s fibre broadband will also attract further investment to the town and support local business to grow and develop particularly through greater use of digital technologies.”

Local TD and Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke said that the move ties in with a key Government commitment to achieve balanced regional development with emphasis on growth outside of Dublin.

“High-speed broadband facilitated by Siro will enable Longford businesses to maintain a level playing field and will act as another great reason to attract jobs and opportunities to Longford and the wider midlands region.”

Ireland’s gigabit roll-out continues

News of this roll-out came just a day ahead of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Marking the occasion, Minister of State for Communications Ossian Smyth, TD, said that the country is on course to surpass its European neighbours in providing gigabit fibre-to-the-home broadband.

“Our target is to complete the delivery of digital connectivity to all Connected Hubs and all schools by 2023; for all Irish households and businesses to be covered by a gigabit network no later than 2028; and for all populated areas to be covered by 5G by no later than 2030,” he said.

Despite delays and criticisms, the Government said Ireland’s National Broadband Plan would help ensure premises across the country have access to high-speed broadband.

It also noted that even though Ireland has a lower population density than most other EU countries, data from the European Commission shows that the country is a strong performer when it comes to gigabit broadband.

According to the data, 58pc of Irish households could access a broadband speed of one gigabit or more as of June 2020 – seven percentage points ahead of the EU average of 51pc.

This is despite the fact that Ireland has a much higher rural population than the rest of the EU, standing at 39pc compared to the EU’s 16pc – meaning that the cost and difficulty of roll-out is higher here than in other countries.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic