Drogheda and Dundalk to gain from 'superfast broadband'
Around 45,000 businesses and homes in Drogheda, Dundalk and Letterkenny are to see 1,000Mbs broadband switched on in the coming months by Siro, the joint venture between Vodafone and the ESB.
The wholesale fibre broadband operator has also announced that Digiweb will resell the superfast broadband, becoming the network's second reseller after Vodafone.
The new broadband will cost from €45 per month.
Siro has been building out a series of town-based fibre broadband networks for the last two years.
So far, completed towns include Carrigaline (Cork), Cavan Town, Sligo and Tralee. The company is in the process of laying fibre in Skibbereen and a handful of other towns.
"This is a different kind of internet," said Declan Campbell, managing director of Digiweb. "It will be great to be able to offer packages of up to 1Gbps, enabling us to deliver one of the most powerful broadband services available in Ireland."
Telecoms firms are currently racing to build out fibre broadband in cities and large towns. Eir says that it will have 100,000 rural homes and businesses connected to fibre broadband by the end of 2016 and 300,000 by the end of 2019. Enet, which runs a number of metropolitan area networks, has built out services in towns such as Claremorris (Mayo), Loughrea (Galway), Ardee (Louth) and Kilkenny.
It targets business customers with these fibre connections and is estimated to have about a third of Ireland's existing active 10,000 fibre broadband connections.
According to a recent Amarach survey of 1,000 people outside Ireland's cities, a growing proportion of the rural population say that there is pressure on them to abandon their homes and move to cities because of poor regional broadband infrastructure.
The Government has promised to intervene in the market with a State-subsidised service targeting over 700,000 rural homes and businesses that will otherwise not be served by private sector broadband options.
It is set to be paid for via a public private partnership between the Government and one or more of Eir, Enet and Siro.
However, following delays, work on the new fibre broadband infrastructure won't start until the summer of 2017.
Around 60pc of the rural homes to be covered will be completed by the summer of 2019, the Government says, with the more remote locations hooked up over the following three years.