Vodafone Ireland is reported to have entered exclusive negotiations with the Irish utility firm Electricity Supply Board (ESB) over the rollout of a new EUR400 million (USD545 million) fibre network. According to a report from the Irish Independent, the pair plan to deploy fibre infrastructure alongside ESB’s nationwide electricity network to offer broadband internet connectivity to some 450,000 homes and businesses across the country. While it is thought that the venture will concentrate on towns with at least 4,000 premises, there are hopes that the new network will also help to improve broadband access across rural Ireland. Politicians who are currently working on legislation to pave the way for the deal say it will create more choice for consumers which will, in turn, help to drive down prices.
As well as being Ireland’s cellular market leader, Vodafone also offers ADSL-based broadband access over the copper network of fixed line incumbent Eircom. Deploying a new fibre network will enable it to operate its own infrastructure and compete more effectively with the likes of Eircom and cable operator UPC Ireland.