eircom plans €100m fibre rollout and IPTV launch

Irish telco eircom has announced Phase 1 of a plan to upgrade significantly Ireland’s telecommunications infrastructure by rolling out fibre-based access technologies delivering superfast broadband to customers.

Separately, the company also announced it will launch television services in 2012. The company intends to serve 100,000 premises by summer 2012 in Phase 1 of a planned multi-year rollout that envisages fibre-based services to one million homes and businesses in Ireland. This will involve an initial investment of over €100 million, upgrading the existing copper access network with fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the home (FTTH) technologies. eircom says the developments build on its plans to restructure its debt and its recent Wholesale Reform announcement.

The upgrade will provide Ireland with a range of faster broadband speeds and a platform to allow wholesale customers and ICT providers to introduce “exciting” new services and applications via the eircom network. Specific speeds will vary according to the technology used. FTTC will support speeds of up to 40Mbps and beyond, while FTTH supports speeds of up to 150Mbps.

Separately, eircom intends to launch a range of entertainment services over fibre including television via a customer’s broadband connection (IPTV), video on demand, catch-up TV and social media via TV. These new services will complement existing value added services such as eircom MusicHub, to offer customers a complete range of content to the device of their choice in their home.

Paul Donovan, CEO eircom Group, said the investment of over €100 million underlined the company’s commitment to be the nation’s network provider of choice and to support economic growth in Ireland. “The introduction of television and entertainment services is extremely exciting and underlines how far the company has progressed during the past two years. We are determined to offer quality products and services that are relevant and offer real value to our customers. Today is the next step in that journey. This is good news for the industry, good news for our employees and good news for Ireland,” he declared.

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, welcomed the planned upgrade, suggesting it represented a “vote of confidence” by the company in Ireland. “Ireland’s significant capacity to innovate its way through the current challenges has been further boosted by today’s announcement,” he said. “These developments will help deliver competition for high speed services to consumers and boost the prospect that many more homes will be able to avail of high speed services.”

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