Eir to replace copper and launch new online voice services

26 January 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe


Ireland’s Eir has applied to telecoms regulator Comreg seeking permission to scrap some of its traditional copper landline network for new online voice services.

"Eir is modernising its network facilities and within the next two to three years, we anticipate there will be geographic areas with widespread availability of next generation access facilities," the Irish Independent reports Eir CEO Richard Moat said in a letter Comreg.

However, Eir, which owns “tens of thousands of kilometres of copper lines”, won’t withdraw copper services from areas that don’t have access to fibre technologies. The news comes as the Irish government’s National Broadband Plan start being rolled out next year, which promises minimum broadband speeds of 30Mbps for every premises in the country, by 2023.

"As the utilisation of the legacy [copper] network declines, it will not be economically efficient for Eir to maintain parallel next generation and [copper] networks and services. Eir would therefore like to be in a position to undertake the orderly and timely retirement of legacy networks and services."

An Eir spokesperson said: "We have a vision on an all-IP network, based on a €400m investment in fibre plus an additional €200 million for a further 300,000 homes. That means we can retire these legacy services."

In December, Eir appointed former BT Wholesale boss Paul Reynolds to be one of three new non-executive directors.

Formerly state-owned Eir is the largest operator in Ireland, and its Open Eir division is the largest wholesale operator in the country, with more than 40 wholesale customers and 400,000 end-users.