NBP AnnouncementSeptember 26, 2017

SIRO ANNOUNCES WITHDRAWAL FROM NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN TENDER PROCESS

SIRO, the open-access broadband provider, has announced its withdrawal from the National Broadband Plan tender process. Together with its shareholders ESB and Vodafone, the company shares the Government’s ambition to reverse the digital divide by increasing the penetration of high speed gigabit broadband to over half a million (500,000) homes and business across Ireland. Following a comprehensive review, SIRO cannot develop a competitive business case to justify continued participation in the National Broadband Plan bid process and therefore has decided to withdraw.

SIRO’s original plan to build a 1 Gigabit broadband network in 50 regional Irish towns is unaffected by this decision and the company remains committed to regional Ireland. SIRO has invested over €100 million over the last two years in building a world class Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) service and is on track to pass 100,000 homes and businesses by the end of September. The company has had a transformative effect in the areas it has launched in to date. For example, the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen is on course to help create 500 jobs over the next five years in the West Cork region.

Commenting on the announcement, Sean Atkinson, SIRO CEO, said:

“Our decision to withdraw from the National Broadband Plan tender has not been taken lightly. We will continue with our original plans focusing on transforming Ireland’s regional towns, putting them on a par for high speed connectivity with cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong. SIRO’s Gigabit towns will attract investment and job-creation, support SMEs and allow access to new services in education, healthcare and entertainment.”

Anne O’Leary, Vodafone Ireland CEO, added:

“Naturally we are disappointed that SIRO is withdrawing from the National Broadband Plan tender, but our vision of creating a Gigabit society in Ireland is unaffected as the SIRO roll out continues as part of our €450 million investment with ESB. The decision to withdraw was difficult, but it means the company can refocus its attention to building out the SIRO network further. With over 100,000 premises due to be passed at the end of the month and the level of sign-ups reaching as high as 20-25% in our early launch towns, there is clear commercial demand for Gigabit connectivity across regional Ireland.”

Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive of ESB, commented:

“SIRO’s withdrawal from the National Broadband Plan tender process was a difficult decision, it was made on the basis that SIRO was unable to make a business case for continued participation in the process. With our partner, Vodafone, we now look forward to delivering SIRO’s primary objective – to roll out a fibre broadband network with 1 GB capacity to 500,000 premises across 50 of the largest towns in Ireland where there is also a significant demand for high speed internet connectivity.”