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Ireland on-course for 100% fibre broadband roll-out, after EU approves €2.6 billion state aid package

As UK political parties argue over the best way to deploy 100% fibre broadband across the country, Ireland is pressing ahead with plans to connect every citizen, business and building to its national broadband network. The network is to be built by National Broadband Ireland, which was established by investment firm Granahan McCourt, with construction set to begin after the EU approved a €2.6 billion state aid package from the Irish government. 

The UK’s Labour party may favour a nationalised broadband network, much like what’s available in Australia, but Ireland clearly sees its future in a privately built system. It’s trusting Granahan McCourt to deploy 146,000km of fibre cable, which will eventually connect 537,000 premises to faster broadband. 

National Broadband Ireland won’t be covering 100% of the country, with 4% of the country’s land mass outside of the scope of its fibre rollout plans. However, once the installation is completed, the company claims that 100% of the country’s population will have access to fibre speeds. 

“The National Broadband Plan is a momentous infrastructure project to empower and rejuvenate rural Ireland, which – until now – has remained significantly underserved by high speed connectivity,” said David McCourt, Granahan McCourt founder and NBI chairman. 

“We want to see residents and businesses thriving in rural parts of the country and ensure they have a bright and sustainable future, with the same opportunities as those in urban areas.”

This isn’t the first time Granahan McCourt has attempted to deliver fibre broadband, the firm has previously laid over 120,000km of fibre across 56 projects and is responsible for 24 national telecom networks, although the Irish project is by far the largest deployment in the company’s history. 

Irish PM Leo Varadkar concluded: “Broadband will be the biggest investment in rural Ireland ever. We can have more people working from home, a better work-life balance, fewer car journeys and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. We can connect better with the world, with family members, with business, with new ideas and new ways of doing things.”

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