Sky has a broadband subscriber base of 190,000 homes across Ireland and wants to grow this further.
Sky already provides broadband in Ireland on a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) basis, combining fibre with copper connections.
‘There is a big thirst for ultra-HD content, and Siro are a great engine to drive that growth’
– JD BUCKLEY
However, the new deal will see the satellite broadcaster access Siro’s fibre optic network, which uses the ESB’s existing network and newly deployed 1Gbps connectivity.
Siro is a €450m joint venture between Vodafone and ESB. It recently pulled out of the Irish Government’s National Broadband Plan to focus on its efforts to deliver high-speed broadband to 500,000 homes across 51 towns in Ireland.
According to CEO Sean Atkinson, Siro already has services live in 25 out of the 51 towns. These include: Dundalk, Carrigaline, Sligo, Letterkenny, Tralee, Cavan, Wexford, Skibbereen, Drogheda, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Ennis, Castlebar, Westport, Limerick, Newbridge, Carlow, Swords, Balbriggan, Bray, Greystones, Athlone, Killarney, Shannon and Mallow.
“Take-up is proceeding as planned and in some of the early towns, we have achieved a 20pc take-up,” Atkinson told Siliconrepublic.com. “We have so far passed 110,000 premises in the network build and we have 12,500 customers signed up.”
Atkinson said that he expects this to grow exponentially as Sky becomes active on the network. He said that Sky’s new FTTH service is currently being trialled on the network.
“Sky as a provider and brand can only help increase our take-up. From the day we established, we made it clear that we are an open-access provider, and we are delivering on that.”
The future is ultra HD
JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, explained that the plan is to offer FTTH services in early 2018.
Buckley told Siliconrepublic.com that Sky already has a broadband subscriber base of 190,000 customers since entering the broadband market in 2013.
“Moving to include fibre to the home is consistent with our strategy and the expectations of our customers. Our customers are content-hungry and they want the best connectivity as they start to enjoy ultra-high-definition content.
“We launched Sky Q into the market 18 months ago, and it is the number one reason why customers have joined in the last 12 months.
“The new electronic programme guide is designed to facilitate more and more viewing, and having high-speed broadband to support that is crucially important.”
Out of the 190,000 broadband subscribers, Buckley said that 80pc of them are currently accessing Sky via FTTC.
“There is a big thirst for ultra-HD content, and Siro are a great engine to drive that growth.”