Virgin to crank up Irish rollout; Enet in EUR100m backhaul bonanza

20 Jan 2017

In an interview with the Independent, Virgin Media Ireland chief executive Tony Hanway has shed light on the cableco’s future expansion plans, noting that the Liberty Global-backed operator seeks to extend its network to cover 200,000 new homes and businesses over the next two years. The CEO told the newspaper: ‘We cover 50% of the country at the moment. I don’t see why that shouldn’t get to 60% or 70%. We’ll expand to almost a million homes in the next two years … At that stage, we’ll have reached a logical place where it wouldn’t make sense economically to go beyond that. We’re never going to be a rural connectivity provider. We can’t be that kind of operator with our technology. In any case, the National Broadband Plan is going to address that area and we’re not part of it.’ The report notes that areas set for coverage include satellite towns such as Enniscorthy, Gorey and Drogheda, and outer-lying city ‘exurbs’ such as the Fingal regions of Balbriggan, Skerries and Lusk.

Also in Ireland, open access fibre provider Enet has confirmed that its ongoing investment programme has reached EUR100 million (USD106.4 million) since it was taken over by Granahan McCourt Capital in late 2013. Enet notes that its national backhaul network – which is now live and fully operational – currently comprises over 3,700km of high-capacity fibre-count cabling and connects 55 towns such as Ballina, Roscommon, Tralee and Kilkenny. A total of 70 operators now utilise the backhaul network, with Belgium-based BICS the latest company to start using the infrastructure, after signing a deal last month.

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