Buys fibre to million homes from Virgin Media wholesaler
Vodafone Ireland has entered a wholesale agreement with Virgin Media Ireland which gives the mobile operator’s regional customers access to fixed line broadband using cable company Virgin Media’s fibre network. Virgin Media’s broadband network connects 1 million premises across Ireland at speeds that can possibly approach 1Gbps. In the next three years a €200m network upgrade promises to support data speeds of up to 10Gbps. To date Virgin Media has upgraded 150,000 premises to its fibre network.
“As Ireland’s largest Fibre to the Home market provider in Ireland and the fastest growing broadband provider over the last 12 months, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring the best products and solutions to our customers,” said Amanda Nelson, CEO of Vodafone Ireland. The broadband partnership with Virgin Media means Vodafone customers can avail of the cable operator’s Fibre to the Premise network, as it continues to upgrade to fibre around the country, said Nelson.
Vodafone recently celebrated 21 years in Ireland. “We are looking forward to supporting our customers and businesses across the country long into the future, ensuring balanced regional development and a resilient and strengthened economy,” said Nelson, “partnerships like this demonstrate our continued focus on our significant network investment strategy, as we look to continually upgrade and refresh our capabilities in Ireland.”
After this inaugural deal, which sees the cable company enter virgin territory, it is ‘all systems go’ for the new wholesaler, said Tony Hanway, Chief Executive of Virgin Media Ireland. “We’re very pleased to provide network access opportunities to other operators for the first time and we welcome Vodafone as our first wholesale network partner,” said Hanway. The expansion should bring ‘ultrafast’ fibre connectivity to 240,000 homes by the end of 2022 and 1 million homes by 2025. “Our entry into the wholesale market will support more competition while improving service delivery for consumers, businesses and communities across Ireland,” said Hanway.
Virgin Media says its ‘entry into the wholesale market will support more competition’. However, Andrew Wooden in Telecoms.com was sceptical about this supposition. “Many have pointed out [that] if anything there are a few too many fibrecos currently fighting over the same coin,” said Wooden, “we are, perhaps, on the cusp of a period of consolidation in the market.”