Eircom announced this afternoon that an additional 100 telephone exchanges across Ireland are to be DSL enabled. The move will expand broadband reach from 85 to 90pc of the population.
As well as striking a broadband IPTV content deal with Setanta Sports, Eircom also revealed that it will start rolling out WiMax next year.
Eircom said it will be making a capital investment in rolling out additional exchanges in 26 counties and that this should be completed next year.
It said that it is committing to take all broadband orders placed within the five urban centres of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway. Until now some subscribers within these urban areas were unable to get broadband because their lines failed the test.
Eircom said that in total some 120,000 extra telephone lines will be able to support broadband.
Last week siliconrepublic.com reported that Eircom is in the process of trialling WiMax technology, a wireless broadband system that enables broadband over wide areas.
It confirmed this morning that it will be commencing the rollout of WiMax in 2007 and it will be used to supplement existing DSL service in the five urban areas it identified.
Rex Comb, the new CEO of Eircom, commented: “Today’s announcements underline Eircom’s commitment to broadband in Ireland. These moves not only boost availability across the country but also enhance broadband’s relevance. The provision of live sports available over the internet will encourage customers to get more from their broadband.
“These initiatives will complete the commercial and cost-effective rollout of broadband in Ireland. However, we look forward to the Government’s upcoming announcement to address the remaining customers without access to broadband.”
In a separate development, Eircom has struck a groundbreaking deal with Setanta Sports to provide live and exclusive sports content via broadband to Eircom customers.
Sporting events tipped to be televised by broadband include Barclay’s Premier League, Scottish Premier League, Eircom League, Setanta Sports Cup, the US PGA Tour, GAA National League and All-Ireland Championship and rugby events like the Magners League and Leinster Schools Rugby.
The commercial director of Setanta Sports Mark Mohan said: “This is a significant deal for Setanta Sports and will mean that Eircom broadband customers will have access to the best in sporting content. We have built a solid international reputation for being a market leader in the acquisition of sporting rights and our content is now broadcast to audiences worldwide.”
By John Kennedy