Ireland’s national PTO eir has revealed plans to invest EUR200 million (USD209 million) over the next two years to provide 300,000 rural homes with high speed broadband, regardless of whether or not it secures the contract to be the government-backed National Broadband Plan provider next year, the Irish Examiner reports. With talks to finalise the winner of the contract rumbling on – the three firms in the running are eir, Enet and SIRO – sources close to the bidding process say the mid-2017 target to select a winner is now looking ambitious. Nevertheless, eir is ploughing ahead with plans to improve rural access, despite the ongoing negotiations, with a spokesman for the firm saying: ‘The process means we are precluded from talking about specifics but we do want to get going as soon as possible if selected. However, the National Broadband Plan is not stopping us investing in rural communities immediately.’
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