Enet and SSE take on Eir in western €100m fibre broadband rollout
A new €100m joint venture between telecoms firm Enet and energy firm SSE is to build a fibre broadband network connecting 115,000 premises in several west of Ireland towns.
The move will see Enet-SSE go head to head against Eir, which is also building fibre-to-the-home connections in 100,000 of the 115,000 premises.
The first wave of Enet-SSE towns will be connected next year, with Ballinasloe, Roscommon Town, Manorhamilton, Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town, Ballybofey, Stranorlar and Buncrana set to benefit.
The new network will be a wholesale operation, available to retail telecoms firms such as Vodafone and Sky, to sell fibre services to local homes and businesses.
Enet does not sell broadband services directly to consumers.
The move will not cover any premises earmarked for State intervention through the Government's National Broadband Plan, which aims to connect 542,000 rural homes and businesses to fibre-speed services.
However, the Enet-SSE move means that the rural towns included will now have two competing providers of separate fibre broadband networks, each capable of delivering 1,000Mbs speeds.
Eir's €200m fibre broadband rollout in the same areas means that the towns will shortly have broadband that is far faster than cities such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
Enet currently operates a number of metropolitan-area networks around Ireland.
The company is owned by Granahan McCourt Capital, the Dublin-based technology, media and telecommunications investment group.
"This investment is extremely positive news for regional Ireland and further evidence of our commitment to invest money where it matters to solve Ireland's biggest connectivity needs, which are essential to future-proof its digital future," said David McCourt, founder of Granahan McCourt Capital and chairman of Enet.
"By jointly deploying our expertise and combined resources, we will extend world class connectivity to some of the most underserved areas of the country."
The launch was also welcomed by Minister for Communications Denis Naughten.
"Today's announcement is a significant boost for businesses and families in Ballinasloe and Roscommon Town and across the North West of the country," he said.
The minister said he was determined "that every premises in Ireland can access high-speed broadband as quickly as possible through a combination of commercial and State-led investment.
"This rollout will deliver world class superfast high speed broadband to 115,000 premises."