Sorce: Captive Media
By: Alan Burkitt-Gray

The company building Ireland’s rural broadband network has awarded Nokia the contract for the 540,000-home system.

National Broadband Ireland (NBI) will be a wholesale-only operation, providing connectivity to all retail operators across the country, at first through a series of 300 broadband connection points (BCPs), and then by fibring up half a million homes across rural Ireland.

Peter Hendrick, CEO of NBI, said: “We believe that better broadband networks promote social progress, equality and sustainability. With equal access to local, national and global opportunity, every person, community and organisation in Ireland will be empowered to achieve more.”

David McCourt, interviewed in the June-July issue of Capacity, told us: “The Irish government has set out to rejuvenate rural Ireland. Like so many countries its rural areas are underserved.”

His company, Granahan McCourt signed contracts with the Irish government last year for the €5 billion project to bring high-speed broadband to every premises in rural Ireland that is underserved by commercial operators.

NBI will sell capacity to every retail operator in Ireland, including Comcast’s Sky, Liberty Global’s Virgin Media, UK-based Vodafone and probably Eir. The Department of Communications in Dublin identified more than 530,000 premises as not being served with adequate broadband services. As a result, the NBI has “agreed an ambitious plan to provide service to these premises, including a target of reaching approximately 115,000 premises across all 26 counties in year two of the roll-out”, McCourt told us in the interview.

Nokia will build an end-to-end fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) solution. Hendrick said: “We look forward to working with Nokia because the company has the experience from similar projects globally, as well as the technological capabilities and end-to-end portfolio, for a project like this.”

Cormac Whelan, CEO of Nokia UK and, said: “It is imperative for today’s digital societies to provide high-speed connectivity everywhere – not just in cities and urban areas – to enable new digital services, digitalisation of industries and innovation for economy and society to the benefit of the whole country. This project is key for the further digitalisation of Ireland.”