Sky expresses interest in accessing ESB and Vodafone’s new fibre network

4 Jul 2014

Broadcaster and broadband provider Sky, which is currently trialling fibre services in Ireland, has told that it would hope to be able to gain access to ESB and Vodafone’s new €450m fibre network.

ESB and Vodafone this week announced a €450m deal for the mobile operator to use ESB’s electricity cables to bring broadband to rural areas across Ireland.

The joint venture agreement is aiming to bring broadband speeds of 200Mbps up as high as 1,000Mbps through a fibre-to-building network in an attempt to make Ireland home of one of the fastest networks in the world.

Following the announcement incumbent operator Eircom said that it was sticking to its €400m investment plan to bring fibre to 1.4m homes in Ireland. Its network currently passes 900,000 premises, including the 50 locations announced by ESB and Vodafone.

Eircom said that it intends to seek the same level of access other operators will have to ESB infrastructure like potholes and ducts that will be provided to the new joint venture.

Speaking with,  a spokesperson for Sky, which launched broadband services in Ireland last year, said that the company is also preparing to launch fibre services and is trialling different technologies.

“We now have 6pc of the Irish broadband market and we are the fastest growing ISP in the country.”

The company currently accesses Eircom’s wholesale network through a relationship with BT Ireland.

“We’re currently carrying out trials for the provision of fibre services which we will only roll out when we believe it is fit for purpose.

“We welcome the ESB and Vodafone joint venture and view it as a positive development in the market.

“We are hopeful that the ESB/Vodafone joint venture’s infrastructure will be also open to providing fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to other operators,” the spokesperson said.

Fibre optic image via Shutterstock

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