Three laptops with fibre broadband connections between them

ESB and Vodafone announce superfast fibre broadband expansion

Partnership reveals another 300 towns to benefit from 1,000Mbps speeds

An extra 300 Irish towns will benefit from new fibre broadband services after ESB and Vodafone unveiled plans to expand their existing fibre service.

Originally announced last year, the joint venture costing €450 million aims to deliver broadband speeds of up to 1,000Mbps and was originally planned for only 50 large towns.

Sean Atkinson, chief executive of the joint venture broadband operator between ESB and Vodafone, revealed new work will begin as soon as the current project is up and running.

When the network launches this autumn, it will provide FTTH (fibre to the home) and FTTB (fibre to the business) connections four times faster than those currently available.

In an exclusive with the Irish Independent, the new operator’s technical director, Trevor Lucey, said the new towns being given access to the service may even include villages no more than 100 buildings while the initial plan targets towns of at least 4,000 buildings.

The roll out to the samller based villages in ruaral areas is not expected until 2018 at the earliest with the FTTH and FTTB service using existing electricity lines to provide fibre broadband.

Cavan to see launch of new network 

Cavan will be the launchpad of the fibre broadband service which will be installed into 300 homes across two housing estates in Aughnaskerry and Rocklands.

Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, said the move would put Cavan “on a par with some of the world’s leading cities”.

“This service […] will help to attract investment, boost competitiveness and make it easier for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses online,” she added.

Others towns among the first 50 to see the service include Monaghan, Portlaoise and Athlone and the wider construction of the network will commence in the summer.

This service will help to attract investment, boost competitiveness and make it easier for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses online

The service will then be available to purchase in the autumn, with ESB and Vodafone selling wholesale access to individual broadband retailers under the agreed terms of service.

The partnership is a separate project to the National Broadband Plan which aims to deliver fibre broadband to all parts of rural Ireland by 2020.

eircom will compete with the new network after announcing an autumn launch for its own 1,000Mbps FTTH service which will reach 3,000 homes in Cavan and 15 more towns by launch.

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