Telecoms company EIR has announced that it has passed one million homes and businesses across Ireland with its new high speed Fibre to the Home (FFTH) network, reports RTE.
Eir has pledged to expand its gigabit broadband network to 1.9 million gateways, or 84% of homes and businesses in Ireland, by the end of 2026.
National Broadband Ireland is expected to provide fibre connections to the remaining 16% of the country’s locations by 2028, with full fibre coverage by the end of the decade.
Measured last year by Eurostat as the eighth most connected country by fibre in the EU, the EIR said today’s announcement will see Ireland get a further boost in the rankings to sit among the world’s best countries for access to high-speed internet.
“This is a major breakthrough for Ireland to become a top digital nation and it is in large part due to the efforts of our incredible teams who have worked tirelessly, in all conditions, to get this vital project done and connect homes and businesses for a better Ireland,” said Oliver Loomes, eir’s CEO, reports RTE.
The rollout will be completed two years ahead of the government’s target of achieving national high-speed broadband coverage of more than 1,000 Mbit per second.
Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, said: “The Government commitment to providing high-speed broadband to every premises in Ireland by 2028 is well on schedule,” reports RTE.
“The National Broadband Plan is designed to reach the hardest to reach places. In order to ensure nationwide connectivity, we see that it works best in partnership with the commercial sector,” he added, reports RTE.
Eir made headlines last year when it emerged that a large sum of money was being paid as dividends to its France-based shareholder.
Asked if leaving the company would mean there is less to invest in things like broadband, Looms said it did not.
Eir recently sold part of its fibre network, but Mr Loomes insists this will not cause ownership and investment issues.
“We own the network and we retain control of the network,” he said, reports RTE.
“It means that we will finish our rollout by 2026, not 2027. That is a year ahead of our own targets and two years ahead of the National Digital Strategy – so it was a good move and it makes a real difference to homes across Ireland,” he said, reports RTE.
Eir has been criticized for poor customer service during the pandemic.
When asked if these issues have been resolved, Looms said that their customer service has “transformed”.
“I am aware that there were issues historically but right now we’re answering calls within three minutes. Our customer complaints to Com Reg are the lowest ever,” he said, reports RTE.
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