Service provider Eir today disclosed it will withdraw from Ireland's national rural broadband rollout plan, following a similar move by Vodafone-ESB venture Siro last year, and leaving only Enet in contention for the contract.
The National Broadband Plan intends to bring high-speed broadband to between 450,000 and 540,000 homes and businesses in currently unserved or under-served regions of rural Ireland.
Eir was shortlisted 18 months ago, but the company's board of directors decided the "significant commercial issues and complexity within the tender process, together with growing uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues that reside outside of the NBP process... [made] the risks too great for its continued participation in the NBP," the company wrote in a press release. "Therefore, Eir has reluctantly taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the tender process."
The service provider will, however, continue to deliver high-speed broadband throughout Ireland and will "support the NBP process through commercial access to our infrastructure," said eir .
Over the last five years, Eir invested €1.6 billion (about $2 billion) to improve the telecommunications infrastructure across Ireland, it said. The result: High-speed broadband to 1.7 million premises to date, according to Eir. The provider will complete its April 2017 government contract to roll out broadband of up to 1 Gbit/s to 300,000 rural homes and businesses, ultimately resulting in 80% of Irish premises having access to high-speed broadband, Eir said.
NBP has been plagued with difficulties since it was announced in 2012, reported Flora. Now, with only one provider left in the bidding process, the program could face a tenuous future, the Irish publication said.
Executives at NBP declined to comment to Flora for its article.
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