€620m expansion of SIRO gigabit broadband network

The second phase of rollout of SIRO’s gigabit broadband network will reach an additional 320,000 homes and businesses.

The €620m next phase of the SIRO rollout will see its services become available to 770,000 homes and businesses – more than 2.1m people – in 154 towns across Ireland.

It emerged today (28 October 2021) that the €620m in funding has been secured through the European Investment Bank and a syndicate of Irish and international lenders, which will be invested in expanding the availability of SIRO’s services, as well as upgrading all its existing infrastructure for 2Gbps capacity – double the speed of the most powerful broadband services in Ireland today.

“Connecting over 2m people as part of a gigabit society matters because it means that more people have the option of working from home, with less cars on the roads and families able to spend more quality time with each other”

“The pandemic further underlined the importance of connectivity in keeping society and our economy functioning, and our people and communities safer,” said Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD.

“SIRO’s investment is very positive in terms of creating greater access to reliable fibre broadband for more towns across Ireland.

“Creating a fully connected Ireland is a fundamental objective of Government, achievable through partnership between public and private funded operators, such as SIRO, working together to reach this goal.”

Digitalising Ireland

The additional funding will bring SIRO’s total investment in its gigabit broadband network to in excess of €1bn.

SIRO, an ESB-Vodafone joint venture, is supported by the European Investment Bank, providing €170 million in funding, alongside a syndicate of Irish and international lenders

The expanded rollout will power regional development and help households become more sustainable in areas such as remote working and reduced commuting

The €620m in funding raised by SIRO will see a further 320,000 homes and businesses added to its existing rollout programme to 450,000 premises. All 770,000 homes and businesses will ultimately have access to SIRO’s 2 Gigabit fibre broadband service, which has already gone live in Kilkenny, with the upgrade for SIRO’s existing 400,000 premises completed by early 2022.

“This is a landmark announcement not just for SIRO, but also for Ireland as our network will play a fundamental role in a regional renewal and helping households be more sustainable,” said SIRO CEO John Keaney.

“Connecting over 2m people as part of a g society matters because it means that more people have the option of working from home, with less cars on the roads and families able to spend more quality time with each other. Similarly, more businesses will be more fully participate in the digital economy, collaborating with clients seamlessly and selling to customers in every corner of the globe. Thanks to our future proofed network, SIRO will power Ireland’s broadband needs for decades ahead.”

The upgrade to SIRO’s infrastructure comes in response to increased data demands due to a shift to remote working and a spike in interest for online services in areas like education and healthcare.

“Accelerating access to broadband communications is crucial to harness the environmental, economic and social benefits of digitalisation,” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, vice-president of the European Investment Bank.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 170 million backing for expansion of SIRO as part of our support for digital investment. This cooperation between Irish and international partners will enable 2.1 million people across Ireland to access high-speed internet in the years ahead”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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