The additional homes will take the operator’s network rollout plan to 1.9 million, almost every home in the country not covered by the National Broadband Plan
Today, Eir have announced an expansion on their previous fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout target, now seeking to pass an additional 200,000 homes.
The expansion will be focussed on villages and towns with a population smaller than 1,000 – areas that were previously considered too small to warrant a fibre rollout.
For Eir the decision behind the expansion of their rollout targets was centred on the country’s increasing digitalisation and subsequent need for greater bandwidth. The pandemic was noted to be a catalyst in this development, making homes and businesses even more reliant on reliable superfast broadband.
“What was sufficient for the average family home before is no longer adequate,” said Eavann Murphy, MD of Open Eir Wholesale. “We have seen fibre connections to our rural network more than double in the last 18 months, signifying the increased requirements for high-speed connectivity of homes and businesses in Ireland. The pandemic has transformed our needs.”
Crucially, these additional 200,000 homes will not be those targeted for coverage by the National Broadband Plan (NBP), which is currently aiming to connect around 540,000 premises, primarily in rural areas, to fibre broadband.
National Broadband Ireland, chaired by David McCourt, won the €3 billion NBP back in 2019. Currently, around 20,000 Irish premises are eligible to order services under the NBP, with more than 92,000 more reportedly in the ‘build phase’.
Eir itself was at one point a rival for the NBP contract, but instead opted to invest €1 billion in their own network.
As a result of these additional homes being targeted, Eir’s FTTH network is now expected to pass 1.9 million homes in total, around 84% of those in Ireland and approximately all of those not covered by the NBP.
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