Competition heating up in the broadband sector

Business, Technology | Fri 8 Sep | Author – Business & Finance
rural broadband

Another joint venture in the broadband sphere has some of the heavy-hitters in the country vying for superiority.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD announced the merger between enet and SSE to bring superfast fibre broadband to 115,000 homes and businesses in the west of Ireland and other rural areas.

At an event in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway it was proclaimed that the new network would roll out to nine towns in the west and north-west which begins in Ballinasloe continuing on to Roscommon Town, Manorhamilton, Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town, Ballybofey, Stranorlar and Buncrana. This will be completed by 2019, will connect each town in planned phases and will support 700 contractor jobs at peak times.

Minister Naughten said: “This joint venture between enet and SSE will deliver world-class high-speed broadband to 115,000 premises, which is tremendous news for consumers and businesses in regional Ireland. With an investment in excess of €100m, which equates to a multimillion-euro investment each month during the network roll-out, the enet-SSE project delivery is expected to support 700 contractor jobs and local supply chain involvement in the west and north-west.

“enet-SSE is a new commercial joint venture between enet owner Granahan McCourt Capital; the Dublin-based technology, media and telecommunications investment group; and SSE, Ireland’s second largest energy utility and one of Ireland’s leading developers and investors in cleaner energy infrastructure.”

This coincides with the recent announcement that Pure Telecom has teamed up with open eir, Ireland’s largest supplier of wholesale broadband and communication services, to form a €35 million infrastructure deal offering broadband speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps to 100,000 residential customers.

Founder of Granahan McCourt Capital and Chairman of enet David C. McCourt said: “We are delighted to be partnering with SSE, which as a FTSE 100 company and one of the largest and most respected energy companies in Ireland and the UK, offers extensive telecoms and infrastructure experience and substantial resources to employ.

“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.”

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Ireland, said: “At SSE, our renewable energy projects have allowed us to make a positive difference for communities across rural Ireland over the last decade, particularly through investment in local jobs, enterprises and communities.

Now, working through our new venture enet-SSE, we’re delighted that we will be delivering vital communications infrastructure that will make a real difference for regional communities and will support local contractor jobs during network roll out.”

The need to eliminate broadband black spots across the country makes this competition a welcome addition. Many areas around the neglected western portion of the country and more rural locations will see vast improvements in their online services because of this emerging and ever-expanding field.