Eir to build 1.4m new fibre broadband connections and shrink NBP

Eir says that it will reduce the government’s rural broadband bill by covering up to 100,000 of the 540,000 homes and businesses identified in the National Broadband Plan.

The assertion came today as Eir chief executive Carolan Lennon announced new plans to cover 75pc of all Irish homes and businesses with fibre broadband directly into dwellings and offices.

“We picked up about 30,000 of the intervention area rural properties when we were building out the 335,000 fibre-to-the-home development,” she said.

“The same thing will happen when we look at suburban and urban properties.”

Asked if this meant that the government’s National Broadband Plan footprint would be reduced, Ms Lennon said: “Yes, I’d say you’re looking at around 80,000.”

The news comes as government spokespeople say that it’s still a matter of weeks until a “conclusion” of the NBP contract discussions with Granahan McCourt, the sole remaining bidder for the state-subsidised rural broadband scheme.

Eir announced today that it would build fibre lines directly into 1.7m homes and businesses around Ireland within the next five years at a cost of €500m.

Ms Lennon said that the first of these would be built in the last three months of this year and that it would proceed at 75,000 premises “per quarter” for the foreseeable future.

She said that the company’s existing commitment to build 335,000 fibre-to-the-home broadband connections would be complete by June.

Eir has also committed to covering 99pc of the country geographically with 4G mobile coverage and that its first 5G mobile coverage would go live by the end of 2019.

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