ESB pursue partnerships for new super fast fibre broadband network

ESB are looking to secure a partner to assist with the roll-out of a new super-fast fibre broadband network in Ireland

David Baker
by David Baker on 22nd July, 2013

Vodafone and BT have emerged as early suitors reportedly interested in the new scheme which is estimated to cost around €400 million.

The proposed new fibre network will connect along ESB poles and run directly into homes and businesses.

All internet providers in the market will be eligible to use the new super-fast fibre network, meaning there will be huge competition in some areas for eircom’s €1.5 billion investment.

Towns near Cork and Dublin will be introduced to the first phase of the development, which is set to see over 450,000 buildings connect to the new network.

ESB who are to develop the new network are looking for a reputable partner to come on board to launch this as a new joint venture.

Sources close to the operation, have said this is to become the country’s most powerful network, with broadband speeds set to be in the region of 150Mb per second.

With a decision to be made by the end of September, all bids are due in by the end of August.Both Vodafone and BT are understood to be highly interested in investing in the network.

After the decision has been made, there is expected to be months of negotiations regarding the operation of the new company, and work is expected to start in the first quarter of 2014.

Most fibre broadband networks use copper wires for the final stretch of its journey, which often slows down speeds for customers. However, in a system know as fibre-to-the-building (FTTB), the ESB joint venture will use electricity wires alongside buildings and will run the fibre directly into the walls allowing for new super-fast broadband speeds.

Although the new venture will see the company own the fibre assets, it will still have to pay ESB Networks a fee, in order to use its pole infrastructure.

All internet providers will be able to buy network space from the JV. This will be done at a wholesale price, meaning they can sell its services to customers for a retail price.

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