A new partnership between Vodafone and the ESB is set to bring high speed fibre power broadband to 50 towns throughout the country.

According of Minister for Communications and Natural resources Pat Rabbitte, who was speaking this morning on RTE’s Morning Ireland, the plan is to use the ESB distribution network to roll out a fibre network across the country. It will initially be for some 50 towns and surrounding areas and will allow those parts of rural Ireland to have access to a fibre network that would be unthinkable in other circumstances.

“It is a quite revolutionary initiative which will realty transform rural Ireland, along with the intervention of the state that is part of the national broadband strategy.”

Minister Rabbitte said: “The state must intervene because the gap is in danger of growing wider between urban Ireland and rural Ireland and therefor given the commercial sector is providing a ferociously competitively and quality service now in urban Ireland, but the commercial sector is wont go into provincial Ireland and the state must intervene and the state is intervening.

“I got approval for a fibre network to a 1000 villages throughout that country at a cost somewhere in a range of €350m –€520m.”

He noted: “But this particular development is separate it is a commercial between the ESB and Vodafone. With Vodafone selected after a public tendering competition. This will have access to the ESB’s own distribution network and will therefore give access to fibre which is the Rolls Royce of Broadband.”

The Minister stated that “There isn’t a country in the world which hasn’t a difficulty with rural broadband in rural less density areas. If you take the example of the US our prevision is much better. There are whole tracts of the US which don’t even have basic broadband.

“We do have basic broadband but it is too basic in the context of today.”