The Vodafone Group has started rolling out fibre to the home (FTTH) programmes in Ireland and Portugal as part of a €600 million network expansion programme.
Ireland will be the first country in Europe to deliver the end to end fibre through its electricity infrastructure nationwide. As part of SIRO, a joint venture in Ireland with ESB, Vodafone Ireland has begun extending a 1 Gbps fibre broadband service to 51 small towns across Ireland by the end of 2018.
To qualify for the scheme a town must have more than 4000 homes and the first to benefit will be Carrigaline in Country Cork, whose homes and businesses will now get broadband speeds on a par with advanced industrial economies in Asia. According to Irish regulator Comreg less than 50% of all fixed broadband subscriptions in Ireland provide speeds of 30 megabits or more. SIRO’s 1 gigabit (1000 megabits) per second speeds will revolutionise the online experience of 500,000 homes and businesses in small towns across Ireland, Vodafone claims.
In Portugal Vodafone has announced a €125 million expansion of its FTTH network which will bring up to 1 Gbps to 2.75 million homes and businesses across the country by the end of 2016. To date, Vodafone has connected 2.2 million Portuguese homes and businesses. Vodafone is also building a new gigabit FTTH network in Spain serving more than two million homes in a co-investment agreement with Orange. It is in discussions with Italian electricity company Enel to create a new infrastructure company to build a national FTTH network open to all operators across Italy.
“The successful economies of the future will be gigabit societies with ultrafast fibre-optic connections available everywhere and Vodafone is playing its part in realising that objective,” said Vodafone Group Public Policy Director Markus Reinisch.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland Vodafone and Swisscom have agreed to extend their strategic partner market agreement for four years. The agreement gives Swisscom customers roaming benefits and high-speed connections wherever Vodafone operates a 4G network. Vodafone’s consumer and Enterprise customers will be able to roam onto Swisscom’s network when visiting Switzerland.
The combined footprint of Swisscom and Vodafone covers 80 markets. Swisscom said it will also draw on Vodafone’s scale to get more buying power when investing in network infrastructure, IT equipment and handsets.