1 Gbps FTTH across Ireland on tap from eircom

Irish national carrier eircom Group, which had previously focused on broadband access via fiber to the cabinet (see "eircom turns on vectoring to support 100-Mbps broadband speeds"), now says it will roll out gigabit speeds via fiber to the home. The service provider has targeted 66 communities for the new services, which will be provided "as demand for this connectivity emerges," eircom says.

Irish national carrier eircom Group, which had previously focused on broadband access via fiber to the cabinet (see "eircom turns on vectoring to support 100-Mbps broadband speeds"), now says it will roll out gigabit speeds via fiber to the home (FTTH). The service provider has targeted 66 communities for the new services, which will be provided "as demand for this connectivity emerges," eircom says.

The FTTH deployment plan includes areas of all five major cities in Ireland, major regional centers, and every county town in Ireland. While detailed rollout plans for each community will be announced "in due course," eircom says the FTTH roll out will begin in Cavan Town, Kilkenny City, and Letterkenny Town. Construction of the fiber-optic broadband infrastructure is expected to require about six months in each location.

"Today demonstrates the flexibility and scalability of our future-proofed fiber network. Building on our existing network design, end to end fiber connectivity supporting speeds of one gigabit, is the natural next step in the evolution of our network capability," according to Richard Moat, eircom's acting CEO.

In support of the effort, eircom says it has begun the construction of a technical trial of FTTH to assess the most cost-effective approach for rural subscribers and address the challenges of ribbon development. The trial will take place in Belcarra, Mayo and will launch in early 2015.

eircom has already tested and deployed FTTH technology in both an urban and suburban environments in Wexford Town and Sandyford, County Dublin (see "Ireland’s eircom announces broadband open access FTTH trials").

The service provider says it has outlined its plans to the national regulator (ComReg) and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR). Industry engagement will begin soon. Operators will continue to have the same open access to the fiber network alongside a suite of enhanced products with significantly increased speed profiles, eircom promises.

eircom says the FTTH deployment will run in parallel with its existing fiber investment program. In August, eircom announced an acceleration and extension of these plans to reach 1.4 million premises by the end of 2015. It also expanded the planned footprint from 1.4 million to 1.6 million homes and businesses.

However, eircom now believes it will complete the rollout of fiber to 1.6 million homes and businesses by the middle of 2016, six months ahead of schedule. Last month, the company's fiber network reached 1 million homes passed.

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