Legislation Enables The Electricity Distribution Network To Be Used For Telco Purposes

Author:Ms Helen Kelly and Nina Cummins

The ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Act 2014 (the Act) empowers the ESB - either on its own or acting with another company - to, inter alia, engage in all or any of the following businesses: (a) development of electronic communications networks (ECN) and electronic communications services (ECS) infrastructure; (b) leasing, licensing, selling, providing, making use of etc any service in connection with ECN and ECS infrastructure; and (c) ECN or ECS (or both) on a wholesale or retail basis. In so doing, the ESB may provide any company with access to the ESB's electricity infrastructure to enable that company to develop ECN and ECS and/or associated services. The legislation follows on from the ESB's tender for a JV partner for the roll-out of a new400 million fibre broadband network as part of the ESB's fibre-to-the-home project. Recent press reports indicate that the ESB has entered exclusive negotiations with Vodafone Ireland as its commercial JV partner. Speaking at the end of April about the future roll-out of fibre broadband in Ireland, the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabitte, confirmed that a new joint venture was being...

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