Imagine unveils plan to bring 5G broadband to regional and rural areas

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Fixed wireless network to target underserved areas

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13 February 2019 | 0

Imagine officially unveiled its plans for a 5G network to serve more than 1 million homes across the country. Under the plan the telco is investing €300 million in an effort to deliver 150Mb/s connectivity through a ‘fibre-to-the-mast’ backhaul.

Last year Imagine announced of a partnership with global asset management group Brookfield, and funding to rollout high-speed broadband across underserved areas of the country.

The plan will see 325 sites built to cover 1.1 million premises within 18 months, with additional sites to be added to meet demand.

Having already deployed a pilot network in 55 areas around the country the company announced that it had already started to build out the network and connecting customers and that the service will be live and available in 155 areas across all 26 counties by June of this year.

“Despite announcements of investments of over €1.2 Billion over the last 5 years and the promise of the rollout of Fibre to the Home, by the end of the third quarter of last year, only 75k customers have been actually connected,” said Imagine chief executive Sean Bolger. “This is not a problem that is unique to Ireland, the reality is that rolling out fibre to every home, is a lot more expensive and takes a lot more time than people expected and will take years to deliver even in urban areas, let alone rural areas.

“As an Irish company, we are delighted to announce this significant investment and a new approach which will finally solve this problem and deliver much needed, fast and reliable high-speed broadband to homes, businesses and communities across regional and rural Ireland, today and into the future.

“Our priority as we rollout the network is to extend our coverage to as many people as possible and with an initial service offering of up to 150Mb/s.

“With the early release of the 5G 3.6Ghz spectrum, which has become the ‘pioneer’ spectrum for 5G, Ireland is in a position to become a centre of excellence and leader of innovative 5G solutions which are enabling and defining the future Digital Economy. However, without a national fibre backhaul infrastructure, the full potential of 5G innovation, especially in rural areas will not be achieved. What we need is a joined-up approach between Government, ComReg, operators and industry to define a new Digital Strategy and a coordinated approach to fibre and 5G infrastructure investment.”

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