According to reports in Irish newspaper The Sunday Business Post, former fixed line monopoly eircom is considering a plan to ask the government to provide it with EUR200 million (USD252 million) in funding to help it redress deficiencies in its network which it says are hampering its rural broadband rollout programme. Although the state has committed to help fund the upgrade of local exchanges where broadband is deemed economically unviable, the incumbent is asking it to go further and help fix the problem of shared lines in some Irish homes which, it says, dates back to a government directive in the 1980s. In its former guise of Telecom Eireann, the telco was ordered to speed up the deployment of fixed lines by installing a line in each and every house that requested one. However, short cuts were taken which, in some cases, resulted in two households sharing a single line. Although not a problem to traditional voice calls, shared lines cannot be used by both parties for the receipt of broadband services. eircom is to hold talks with the Department of Communications over how to fund its rural broadband programme, but is looking for a government concession on fixing the problem of shared lines, or ‘carriers’ as they are also known. The exact number of lines affected is unknown, but the cost of rectifying the problem is estimated at EUR200 million.
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