Irish fixed broadband provider Eircom has announced plans to extend its fibre footprint to 1.9 million homes by 2020, increasing its previous target of 1.6 million homes passed by mid-2016. The additional 300,000 homes and businesses are spread across 1,070 communities in all 26 counties, including Fybagh in County Kerry; Blacksod in County Mayo; Goleen in County Cork; Maam in County Galway and Ring in County Waterford. The expansion plan will also cover 300 communities not currently served with high speed broadband. With speeds of up to 1Gbps becoming available via fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology, the project will see Eircom invest EUR400 million (USD447 million) over the next five years.
The telco says it remains on track to reach its coverage target of broadband access for 70% of the country by end-2016, with the figure rising to 80% by 2020, with 1Gbps data speeds likely to be available to 35% of premises when construction is completed. CEO Richard Moat commented: ‘By making high speed broadband available to as many people as possible, today’s announcement also reduces the intervention footprint under the government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP), thereby reducing the burden for the taxpayer at a time where there is an enormous demand for Exchequer funding.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month Eircom revealed that it was deploying fibre broadband at a rate of 10,000 premises per week, in an attempt to win the government’s upcoming NBP tender. The NBP is expected to cost around EUR516 million, with the aim of delivering fibre broadband to more than 600,000 homes and 100,000 businesses across rural Ireland.