Vodafone announced that it has inked a €450m (£358m) joint venture with the Electricity Strategy Board (ESB) in Ireland, to build a 100 percent fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband network.
The partnership, in a period of 5 years, will provide 500,000 homes and businesses in the Ireland’s 26 counties and 50 towns with download speeds of 200Mbps to 1000Mbps.
The speeds will be up to 12 and a half times faster than the speeds available in Britain, which is currently above Ireland in average speed rankings internationally. Ireland will be the first country in Europe to use the existing Electricity infrastructure to deploy fibre network on a nationwide basis.
Pat Rabbitte, Ireland’s Minister for communications, energy and natural resources said that the joint venture is the beginning of Ireland positioning itself as a “as a front runner” in “tackling the high speed broadband deficit.”
Vodafone will deploy fibre network on the existing overhead and underground infrastructure of ESB, for a fast roll-out. The 800 miles of ESB’s fibre-optic cabling, will be extended into the premises along poles and underground through existing power lines.
Vodafone looks at FTTP as a major area of growth with investments in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, reaching around 14 million households.
The fibre network roll out in Ireland through the joint venture is expected to begin in the coming months and complete by the end of 2018. First customers in towns including Bray, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford, should be able to receive fastest speeds with Vodafone’s fibre broadband in early 2015.
The initial phase of the project will be fully rolled out by 2018 end, with scope for second phase.