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open eir to Offer Gigabit Broadband Speeds

Fibre to the Home to Reach Every County in Ireland.

open eir Group today announced that it will significantly increase broadband speeds currently available on its fibre broadband network by offering one gigabit (1,000 megabits per second) connectivity in 66 communities across the country. These superfast speeds will be underpinned by ‘end to end’ fibre connections through the use of fibre to the home (FTTH) technology. Customer connections will be provided as demand for this connectivity emerges.

With a one gigabit broadband connection, consumers can download a high definition film in less than a minute and business users will have bandwidth capacity to transfer applications and large data files at rates previously only available to large enterprises.

Work will commence next month on the first three locations - Cavan Town, Kilkenny City and Letterkenny Town. The construction phase for each location is expected to take approximately six months. The planned footprint includes areas of all five major cities, major regional centres and every county town in Ireland. Detailed rollout plans for each community will be announced in due course.

Commenting on the announcement, Richard Moat, Acting CEO, eir said, “Today demonstrates the flexibility and scalability of our future proofed fibre network. Building on our existing network design, end to end fibre connectivity supporting speeds of one gigabit, is the natural next step in the evolution of our network capability.

“This announcement underlines open eir’s ambition for Ireland and our ambition as the country’s leading telecommunication provider to rollout new technologies that enable and encourage economic growth. Once again we will demonstrate our expertise and ability to deliver network investment more efficiently and at lower cost than other operators.”

Separately, open eir Group has commenced the construction of a technical trial of FTTH to assess the most cost effective solution for the rollout of high speed broadband in rural Ireland and address the challenges of ribbon development. This trial is taking place in Belcarra, Mayo and will launch in early 2015. open eir has already trialled and deployed FTTH technology in both an urban and suburban environments in Wexford Town and Sandyford, Co Dublin.

Carolan Lennon, Managing Director of open eir said “open eir's Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) network was designed from the start to enable an efficient evolution to FTTH. Since 2012 we have laid additional fibre capacity to all c4900 VDSL cabinets in our National FTTC network, which currently passes over 1 million premises. I am delighted that 66 locations will now be able to benefit from the foresight of our network planners to future proof the FTTC network, with Gigabit speeds to come on stream from a range of Service Providers.”

open eir has outlined its plans to the Regulator (ComReg) and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR). Industry engagement will commence shortly. Operators will continue to have the same ‘open access’ to the fibre network alongside a suite of enhanced products with significantly increased speed profiles.

This project will run in parallel with open eir’s existing fibre investment programme. In August, open eir 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.  In a further acceleration of those announcements, open eir now estimates it will complete the rollout of fibre to 1.6 million homes and businesses by the middle of 2016, six months ahead of schedule. Last month, the company passed the important milestone of one million premises which can now access broadband with speeds of up to 100Mb per second.

Notes to Editor:
See map for full list of locations.

Key Fibre Milestones:
Autumn 2012
open eir commences construction of its fibre broadband network, using fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology.

May 2013
open eir Launches ‘open access’ fibre network, offering speeds of up to 70 Mbps to more than 400,000 homes and businesses.

December 2013
open eir expands planned fibre footprint from 1.2 million to 1.4 million premises. Fibre network footprint reaches 700,000 premises.

February 2014
open eir becomes one of the first operators in Europe to introduce vectoring technology – fibre network now offers speeds of up to 100Mbps

August 2014
open eir announces acceleration of rollout to reach 1.4 million premises by end 2015. Extends planned fibre footprint to 1.6 million premises

September 2014
Fibre network passes one millionth premises in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry

October 2014
open eir announces plans to introduce speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). FTTH rollout to commence in November in Letterkenny, Kilkenny City and Cavan Town. Also announces construction of rural FTTH technical trial in Belcarra, Mayo. Now estimates 1.6 million premises will be reached six months early by mid-2016.

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