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eircom fibre network set to pass one million homes by summer

4G roll-out ahead of schedule and eircom’s fibre network reaches 800,000 properties in Q3

eircom’s roll-out of 4G broadband services is ahead of schedule, according to their financial results for Q3 and the nine months which ended on 31 March 2014.

According to eircom, approximately 50% of Irish customers can now benefit from the service, while the firm’s fibre network has expanded to pass 800,000 properties.

Revenues fell 5% in Q3 to €315m, although eircom reports that its finances are stabilising - earnings before interest and tax of €119m were reported, showing no significant year-on-year change.

Meanwhile the firm’s operating costs also fell by 2%, meaning eircom’s €100m target has been reached.

But eircom’s CEO Herb Hribar also highlighted an expenditure of €10m to cover damages to the fibre network resulting from heavy storms in January and February.

The company’s group broadband base increased by 6% in Q3, showing an increase for a fourth consecutive quarter.

Meanwhile, post-paid mobile customers now account for 39% of its mobile base – up eight percentage points from the previous quarter.

“Our third quarter and nine month results highlight continued stabilisation in our underlying bottom line and progress on cost reduction,” said eircom Group CEO Mr Hribar.

High-speed broadband access on the rise

He explained that eircom’s investment programme into its fibre network and high speed broadband is on track to pass one million homes during the summer of 2014, and 1.4m by 2016.

Mr Hribar explained that such measures would provide 70% of all homes and businesses in Ireland with access to high speed broadband.

Meanwhile, the roll-out of the firm’s 4G broadband network is ahead of schedule, covering 50% of the total population.

He also said that Q3 represented the introduction of vectoring technology by eircom, making them one of the first operators in Europe to deploy the service that enables 100Mbps broadband speeds.

“We are starting to see the benefit of our investments with some 103,000 customers already taking up our high speed broadband services at the end of March, representing a 13% penetration of the 800,000 premises passed,” added Mr Hribar.

The financial results for Q3 were also “broadly in line” with the firm’s expectations and demonstrated “continued stabilisation in business performance”, according to CFO Richard Moat.

He explained that the firm has hit its operating target of €100m three months ahead of target, while more eircom customers are taking advantage of post paid mobile broadband services.

Mr Moat also said the firm was “exploring a number of strategic options with a view to further strengthening the financial position of the company”.

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