e|net Signs Agreements To Connect Regional Broadband Networks

Press release
28th Sep 2005

e|net, the company which manages the State’s regional fibre networks, is delighted to announce today that it has signed deals with ESB Telecoms and BT Ireland, to create a new national, open access broadband infrastructure. The agreement links regional fibre infrastructures, increasing the potential of each of the company’s fibre platforms.

This announcement marks a major breakthrough in providing a top class, open access broadband network throughout the country. The deals connect the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), managed by e|net on behalf of the State, to a nationwide platform via the ESB Telecoms and BT Ireland networks.

For the first time this will allow wholesale “super fast broadband” to be made available, across all of the existing MANs. There are currently 24 MANs operational and this will be expanded to 120 towns as the Government built infrastructure is rolled out.

All authorised operators and licensed telecom carriers can avail of these services which will revolutionise the Irish market. The pricing for these services will change the current model with distance independence becoming a feature and significant reduction in bandwidth costs.

New products such as Fast Ethernet will allow authorised operators deliver value added services such as Video on Demand, I/P Television, Fast Internet and will allow business customers to access bandwidth at prices comparable to the best available in the world.

Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr Noel Dempsey, TD welcomed the announcement and said, “I am pleased at this landmark development which is crucial in bringing broadband to the regions and welcome the agreements between e|net and ESB Telecoms and BT Ireland to provide interconnectivity for the MANs. The announcement today represents another significant step towards the goal of ubiquitous, affordable, true broadband in every region in the country.”

Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive Officer of e|net Michael Tiernan said, “This deal brings the best services currently available globally to the Regions of Ireland. By interconnecting these fibre networks, e|net, BT Ireland and ESB Telecoms are opening the market to true competition and lifting Ireland’s broadband profile internationally.”

“This is already bringing benefit to business and promoting inward investment to the Regions. It is providing the level playing field in telecoms for the Regions that we’ve all been working for and releases the full potential of the MANs.”

Commenting on the announcement ESB Telecoms Chairman Sean Wyse said, “ESB Telecoms has led the way in promoting a simple, distance insensitive pricing structure in the wholesale market throughout Ireland. We are delighted with this co-operation with e|net, as this approach to pricing can now be extended directly to customer premises using the metro networks. It will enable the delivery of new services in Ireland and bring real choice and competition to places where it would previously have been technically and commercially impossible.”

Mike Maloney, Chief Operating Officer, BT Ireland said, “We are delighted to be supporting Government’s regionalisation strategy which is critical to Ireland’s competitiveness. Today’s announcement enhances Ireland’s regional infrastructure capability which will encourage both inward investment and indigenous business to locate right across the country.”

Telecom carriers respond positively to announcement

Some of the telecom companies have responded positively to this announcement today:

“COLT Telecom welcomes the announcement of e|net, BT Ireland and ESBT’s agreement to cooperate in providing Open Access to carriers nationwide. e|net’s initiative is to be commended and whilst a lot more needs to be done to reduce the cost of interconnecting the MANs, this is a step in the right direction. Costs to interconnect the MANs need to be driven down drastically to provide increased competition and greater Operator choice for end users throughout Ireland.”

Eamonn Walsh, Country Director MCI Ireland said: “MCI welcomes the cooperation between e|net, BT Ireland and ESBT to provide Open Access to the Regions. This will further enable MCI to continue to deliver advanced services to regionally based businesses.”