Eircom dedicates $143.3M to build out broadband, IPTV

Eircom, Ireland's incumbent service provider, is so confident about its chances in broadband and IPTV that it has decided to invest €100 million ($143.3 million) to build out a fiber network that will support both services.

The new IPTV service will instantly make Eircom an instant new competitor to the country's cable operator UPC Ireland and satellite provider BSkyB.

Dedicating funds to IPTV and broadband is part of a larger process Eircom is taking in upgrading its existing copper network in phases to fiber to support triple play (voice, video and data) services for its residential customer base.

Of course, the bigger question is how the financially challenged Eircom will fund the new network investment.

Paul Donovan, Eircom's chief executive, said the cash-strapped company would fund the investment from its own resources, said they "can fund this from free cash flow," adding they "have roughly €400 million ($577.4 million) in cash on hand."

Following Fiber to the Home (FTTH) trials Eircom conducted last year in Dublin and Wexford, the service provider plans to initially reach 100,000 homes by the summer of 2012 and ultimately 1 million homes.

When the upgrade is complete, Eircom said it will be able to outpace UPC's top 100 Mbps offering with a 150 Mbps speed tier. In the near-term, Eircom, which will offer the network on a wholesale basis to competitors, will enable 99 percent of its current subscriber base to access a 20 Mbps connection by September 2011.

For more:
- Irish Times has this article

Related articles:
STT looks for new ways to refinance Eircom's debt
eircom schedules FTTH trial in Sandyford, Wexford town
Ireland: Calls for Eircom to be renationalized
Eircom pursues real split