Eircom launches super-fast broadband network
Eircom has launched a national super-fast broadband network that is due to be available to 1.2 million homes and businesses by 2015.
Broadband speeds will be between six and 10 times faster than Eircom's current offering and will be rolled out to an initial 300,000 customers from Monday, the company said.
Current Eircom customers will be upgraded to the new technology for free.
A €1.5bn investment programme will take that tally to 600,000 by the end of 2013, the company said.
Eircom's investment is aimed at winning back market share from rivals including cable operator UPC in what has become a fiercely competitive market.
The new network will provide speeds of up to 70Mb per second, with broadband packages starting at €40 for consumers and €24.79 for business users.
After emerging from examinership last June, Eircom has been under pressure to re-establish its dominance of the telecoms sector.
As well as landlines and broadband, Eircom plans to launch a faster 4G mobile phone service this summer and will offer pay TV services from the autumn.
"Four services on one bill will make life easier for customers," Eircom's chief executive Herb Hribar said. Eircom's investment amounts to €1m a day in the network, everyday, he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the investment in Eircom's fibre optic network complements the Government's digital strategy and is a "statement of confidence in the future."
Speaking at the launch of the service he said infrastructure improvements will support industry and education.
There has been a broad welcome for the announcement from the wider telecoms sector. Eircom's traditional dominance means many operators use its infrastructure to service customers.
Ronan Lupton, the chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators, said his members welcome the investment.
However, some industry sources questioned Eircom's decision to roll out the new service after a relatively short trial period of eight weeks, compared to an eight-month testing period when a similar scheme was launched in the UK.