The Enet consortium has reportedly accused the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) of obstructing efforts to roll out broadband infrastructure across Ireland. The Irish Times writes that Enet has accused the power utility of refusing ‘numerous requests’ for access to electricity pylons in north Kerry, which it would like to use to deploy its fibre broadband product. Enet, which is backed by US telecoms group Granahan McCourt, is one of three groups vying to secure the government’s National Broadband Plan, but has apparently accused the ESB of ‘stonewalling’ requests for access to its infrastructure.
The paper notes that under the EU’s directive concerning shared utilities, companies owning infrastructure – such as the ESB – are required to open up their networks to other operators for strategic telecoms projects. Granahan McCourt founder David McCourt claims, however, that the utility is denying its requests for access, suggesting the energy company was ‘avoiding the issue’. The issue is further complicated by the fact that the ESB is in indirect competition for the contract to help deliver the aspirations of the National Broadband Plan, as it is part of a joint venture initiative (with Vodafone) called SIRO. It is not the first time that the ESB has drawn criticism; earlier this year, former monopoly operator eir accused the power company of turning down requests to use its network of pylons for broadband deployments.