UPC Ireland is planning to offer SME users even faster broadband packages as part of its parent company’s wider EUR350 million (USD539 million) network upgrade. The cableco has already expanded and upgraded its metropolitan fibre and microwave networks in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford, and from next month is upping its standard SME connection speeds from 2Mbps, 3Mbps and 6Mbps to 3Mbps, 6Mbps and 12Mbps. Gavin Smyth of UPC Business told online portal siliconrepublic.com that from early April the operator will boost its broadband offerings following the switching on of the company’s metropolitan fibre networks. The new system includes 34 microwave sites, 550km of fibre in Dublin, 200km in Limerick and Cork and more than 120km covering Galway and Waterford. Based on Cisco Metro Ethernet technology, the new network will enable UPC to offer services such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and internet protocol virtual private networks (IP VPNs) to support high bandwidth voice and data services, including videoconferencing. Mr Smyth added that the company has augmented its network coverage via a number of backhaul deals with ESB Networks and also plans to deploy its own fibre-optic rings in large towns like Sligo, Navan, Naas and Thurles. It is hoping to offer wireless internet access over multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS) antenna, but is awaiting a licence decision from the regulator to install a return path to enable internet connectivity via MMDS.