Vodafone Ireland is in talks with Irish utility Electricity Supply Board (ESB) about jointly building a Greenfield $545 million fiber to the premises (FTTP) network that would serve 450,000 homes and businesses.
The two companies plan to deploy fiber cabling alongside ESB's electricity network, according to a report in the Irish Independent.
"ESB has entered into exclusive negotiations with Vodafone Ireland as the preferred bidder to form a Joint Venture Company, which will roll out fibre to homes and businesses across Ireland," a Vodafone spokesman told the Irish Independent.
Based outside of Dublin, the first phase of the new fiber broadband venture will initially serve towns that have at least 4,000 premises with hopes to improve broadband access throughout rural Ireland.
However, they did not say if it will be an open access network that would enable other competitors to use it to deliver services to their customers.
There are a few drivers and benefits behind Vodafone Ireland's FTTP plans.
Already a well-established mobile operator, the new fiber network will allow Vodafone to diversify its service portfolio.
By owning the network, the other benefit is control over its service destiny. This will come in handy as it competes with cable operator UPC and Ireland's incumbent telco eircom, which is building out its own FTTP network that will cover 1.4 million premises when it's completed in 2016.
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