eircom’s head of public policy Pat Galvin says that in the wake of the economic downturn, the former monopoly operator must ‘review and look at the business and these sort of investments’, referring to the telco’s planned CAPEX for next generation broadband networks in the country. The Irish Times reports that Galvin told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources yesterday, the operator plans to upgrade its core PSTN from copper to fibre-optic networks in urban centres and regional towns across the Republic by 2011. Galvin confirmed that eircom intends to upgrade its existing infrastructure to deliver speeds of up to 24Mbps, but declined to put a precise figure on levels of investment. ‘eircom, given the current economic position, has no choice but to review and look at the business and these sort of investments … The vision and the aspiration of the investment, the scale of the investment, needs careful consideration,’ he said.
eircom has invested upwards of EUR1 billion (USD1.27 billion) in its infrastructure in the past three years, but warned that technology limitations mean there could still be some residents living too far from its exchanges to avail of its broadband services. The paper says that Fine Gael’s Neil Coonan challenged the operator on whether it was abandoning rural customers, a charge eircom denied.