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UPC to introduce higher-speed broadband service

CABLE TV firm UPC Ireland expects to begin offering 50Mb broadband services to homes around the country in August.

The company's chief executive, Robert Dunn, confirmed the expected launch date to the Irish Independent yesterday, and added that a 120Mb service is likely to be made available subsequent to that.

Mr Dunn added that when launched, the 50Mb service will be available to about 65pc of its customers, or 550,000 of the homes that can be serviced by UPC Ireland.

Upgrades to the network servicing the remainder are currently under way.

The company currently offers a highest speed of 30Mb.

Another company that currently offers 50Mb residential broadband in Ireland, Magnet, does so on a limited basis, largely confined to localised areas within Dublin.

Although it also has a very small presence in both Meath and Laois.


Mr Dunn revealed the plans as UPC Ireland reported a 45pc increase in the number of broadband customers to 148,000 in 2009 to the end of December. The number of subscribers to its telephone package rose 116pc to 60,300 last year, while the number of subscribers to its digital television service rose 10pc to over 349,000.

It is to launch a video on demand service later this year.

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UPC is part of the US-based Liberty Global group. It no longer splits reporting of its Irish unit.

In the third-quarter of last year -- the last time the results were split -- UPC Ireland's revenues were reported at $84.4m, down 11.2pc year-on-year as the euro weakened against the dollar during the period.

On a constant currency basis, they were 1.1pc higher.


Mr Dunn said take-up of its three services had been strong in the first seven weeks of this year compared with the same period in 2009, particularly for its telephone and broadband offers.

He added that UPC Ireland will spend about €90m this year in capital expenditure -- about half of it on the continuing upgrade of its network, and half on installing equipment such as high definition set-top boxes in subscribers' homes.

The company will have spent about €300m between 2007 and 2011 upgrading its network.

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