Mallow included in new €450 million Broadband project

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, has warmly welcomed the inclusion of Mallow in the joint venture agreement, led by ESB and Vodafone, to invest €450 million in building 100% fibre-to-the-building. Fibre-to-the-building provides an end-to-end fibre optic connection the full distance from the point of interconnect directly into the building and can deliver faster speeds than fibre-to-the-cabinet as there is no copper connec-tion from the cabinet to the building broadband network, offering speeds from 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, propelling Ireland into the ranks of the world’s fastest broadband countries.

“Ireland will also become the first country in Europe to utilise existing electricity infrastructure on a nationwide basis to deploy fibre directly into homes and businesses, initially reaching 500,000 premises in 50 towns nationally and towns like Mallow loc-ally,” said Minister Sher-lock. “The fibre will be deployed on ESB’s exis-ting overhead and under-ground infrastructure, ensuring a fast and cost efficient roll-out to every county in Ireland and reversing the digital divide between the capital and regional towns.”

With recent data from ComReg, the Irish tele-coms regulator, showing that 43% of fixed broad-band customers in Ireland receive speeds of less than 10 Mbps, direct access to 100% fibre broadband of up to one gigabit per second will transform the internet experience of small and medium businesses (SME), remote workers and consumers. “This will help regional areas to compete more effectively for investment and jobs, and SMEs to work more efficiently, enhance their online presence and reach new markets and customers,” stressed Minister Sherlock. “Home working will also become a real option for more people, helping Ireland to develop its smart economy. With global internet traffic set to triple in the next five years, the speed and reliability delivered by 100% fibre broadband will ensure Irish customers can lead the digital lives they want.”

Subject to European Commission approval, the 50:50 joint venture will begin rolling out the new network across Ireland in the coming months, with the first customers able to avail of 100% fibre broadband from the start of 2015. The initial phase of the project is expected to be fully rolled-out by the end of 2018, with scope for a second phase under the joint venture.

While the ESB and Voda-fone joint venture will build and manage the network, open access will be offered to all telecoms operators in Ireland on a wholesale basis. This means that other operators can resell the fibre product to their customers, helping to stimulate the develop-ment of new services and boosting retail competition in the broadband market for all Irish consumers and businesses.

“This is an important announcement and one that will significantly impact on business and homes in Mallow. I look forward to a speedy process of implementation,” said Mr Sherlock.