SIRO has pulled out of the tender process for Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, citing its inability to put together a competitive business case.

The plan, unveiled in 2012, aims to deliver 30MBps broadband to every home and business in the country.

As part of this, the Irish government promised to subsidise the building of new networks where companies did not plan to invest.

SIRO, a joint venture between energy company ESB and Vodafone, was set up in 2014 pledging to invest €450 million in an FTTH network.

It has invested €100 million to date and said it expects to pass 100,000 premises by the end of this month.

Plans to deploy FTTH in 50 regional towns would be honoured, SIRO said, but any hope of widening the network as part of the National Broadband Plan had foundered on commercial reality.

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.”

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 percent in our early launch towns, there is clear commercial demand for Gigabit connectivity across regional Ireland.”

SIRO’s departure means two remaining bidders are left – eir and a consortium comprising investment firm Granahan McCourt Capital, energy provider SSE, fibre infrastructure provider enet and property company John Laing Group.

Final tenders are set to be submitted early next year.

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