Irish Broadband refutes sale rumours

8 Jan 2007

Irish telecoms service provider Irish Broadband has refuted claims it is to be sold to a rival operator, writes the Sunday Business Post. A spokesman for the company’s 51% majority shareholder National Toll Roads (NTR) says that the broadband provider is instead in negotiations about a new funding arrangement: ‘The company is in serious discussions with a number of parties,’ he said. ‘They have been ongoing since the end of last year and no decision has been reached with any party yet.’

Industry watchers have speculated that Irish Broadband could float on the Alternative Investment Market in London, although others suggest that a trade sale is more likely. One possible buyer is thought to be US-based Clearwire, which could acquire NTR’s stake rather than buying the firm outright. The remaining 49% of Irish Broadband is owned by Kilsaran Concrete Products, founders and management.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, wireless service provider Irish Broadband received a licence from ComReg in July 2002 and began connecting business and residential customers the following month. Its network licences and coverage for WLAN services in the 3.5GHz band extend to 27 regions including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Drogheda and Dundalk, Athlone, Arklow, Ennis, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Wexford and Carlow. The services are marketed under the brand names Ripwave and Breeze; the former uses patented wide-area wireless broadband technology supplied by Navini Networks of the US. Irish Broadband has also launched WiMAX in 14 cities using equipment based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard, purchased from Alvarion. It has gained about 30,000 customers since launch.

Ireland, Imagine Communications