Some 300,000 rural homes and businesses across Ireland are to be connected with high speed fibre broadband, Eircom has announced.

The 300,000 homes are spread across the 26 counties in the Republic and include 300 communities not currently served with high speed broadband.

Speeds of up to 1gb/s will be available through the use of ‘end to end’ fibre to the home (FTTH) technology, it says.

This expanded footprint means Eircom will invest €400m in fibre over the next five years, it says.

The areas to be served by this investment are largely ribbon style developments across rural Ireland in communities such as Fybagh, Co Kerry; Blacksod, Co Mayo; Goleen, Co Cork; Maam Co Galway; and Ring, Co Waterford, it says.

Half of Ireland, 1.2m homes and businesses, already has access to high speed broadband on Eircom’s network and the company remains on track to reach 70% of the country by the end of 2016, it says.

By 2020, that will rise to 80% of the country, with 35% all homes and business accessing broadband speeds of up to 1gb/s when construction completes, it says.

Richard Moat, CEO of Eircom, says that the announcement underlines the company’s continued ambition for Ireland and commitment to strategic investment by our shareholders, board and management.

“No other operator in Ireland is investing as extensively in fibre broadband. This is a critical development as we build a future proofed network using a best in class technology to deliver the highest broadband speeds to many rural communities right across Ireland,” he said.

This will extend its fibre footprint from 1.6m homes and businesses to 1.9m premises throughout the country, Eircom says.