Pat O’Doherty, CEO, ESB; Alex White, minister for Communications; An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny ; Sean Atkinson, CEO, SIRO; Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone
SIRO, Ireland’s first 100% fibre-to-the-building broadband network was unveiled today and promises to bridge the digital divide between the capital and rural regions.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White today unveiled SIRO as the new brand of ESB and Vodafone Ireland’s fibre broadband joint venture company. As part of the launch, Enda Kenny revealed that SIRO will employ 60 people, and a further 200 construction jobs will be supported across Ireland as part of the rollout of the network.
SIRO, derived from Sirius the brightest star in the night sky, is set to light up Ireland’s communications landscape when it delivers the network. SIRO is investing €450m in building Ireland’s first 100% fibre-to-the-building broadband network, offering speeds from 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps to 500,000 premises in fifty regional towns. SIRO is unique in that it exclusively offers a wholesale open access network meaning that it will be available to all telecoms operators in Ireland to resell to their customers.
The first 10 locations, dubbed Ireland’s first Gigabit towns or ‘fibrehoods’, to be included in SIRO’s roll-out are Cavan, Dundalk, Westport, Castlebar, Sligo, Carrigaline, Tralee, Navan, Letterkenny and Wexford. Construction on the network began last September delivering 1 Gigabit speeds to 300 homes in Cavan, and continues this summer. The initial phase of the project, which consists of 50 towns, is expected to be fully rolled-out by the end of 2018 with scope for a second phase that will reach 300 smaller towns.
At the event SIRO also announced its interest in tendering for the National Broadband Plan later this year to deliver high speed broadband to rural Ireland. Backed by two of Ireland’s leading companies – Vodafone and ESB – SIRO already has access to €450 million in funding to roll-out the first phase of the project, with additional funding available for future investment and further phases.
Commenting at the launch of SIRO, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said: “This Government is serious about broadband. High speed broadband is a necessity for all Irish homes and businesses as we connect Ireland to the world and create new jobs. This is why the Government supported the joint venture between ESB and Vodafone to create SIRO.
“As a result of this project, 50 regional towns in 26 counties – the equivalent of half a million homes and businesses around Ireland – will have access to a 1 Gigabit 100% fibre broadband connection, putting us on a par for high speed connectivity with leading international hubs, such as Tokyo and Hong Kong. As a result, Ireland’s first Gigabit towns will ultimately have the same economic opportunities as those that are available in Dublin. I’m also delighted that this new venture will create 60 direct jobs and 200 construction jobs in the development of the new network.”
Anne O’Leary, Vodafone Ireland CEO, said: “Irish consumers and businesses deserve so much more from their broadband and SIRO is a transformative project which will finally provide the connectivity required to put Ireland on an equal footing with some of the most competitive economies across the globe.”
Pat O’Doherty, CEO of ESB, added:“ This is the first project of its kind in Europe and will ensure a fast and cost efficient roll-out to every county in Ireland, reversing the digital divide between the capital and regional towns – a potential legacy that we can all be proud of.”