Telecoms provider Eir has reported a 2% drop in revenue for the second quarter, while earnings - before storm costs - were 4% higher.

Eir said its revenues for the three months to the end of December fell to €322m while earnings rose by €4m to €125m.

Operating costs - before storm costs - for the three month period fell by 8% year on year to €120m. The company said it spent €3m on network repairs after hurricane Ophelia. 

The company pulled out of the bidding process for the National Broadband Plan on Wednesday.

It has a separate contract from the Government to deliver broadband to 300,000 rural premises and said today that 73% of premises are now passed by fibre technology. 

Fibre to the home technology is now available to more than 170,000 homes and businesses, it added.

Eir's chief executive Richard Moat said the company's board made the "difficult" decision to withdraw from the National Broadband Plan as it decided the risks were too great.

"Based upon the significant commercial issues and complexity within the process, together with growing uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues that reside outside of the NBP process, the company's board has decided that the risks are too great for its continued participation in the NBP," Mr Moat said.

He said the company remains supportive of the Government's policy objective to bring high speed broadband to all homes and businesses across the country.

Eir said its total broadband customer base by the end of December stood at 911,000, up 4% on the same time the previous year and driven by growth in the wholesale business. 

It noted that 65% of its broadband customers were using fibre based high-speed broadband service, an increase of 95,000.

In the mobile business, revenue was flat at €89m. Mobile earnings were also fairly flat at €12m as its group's mobile customer base stood at 1,056,000 at the end of December.

Mr Moat said the news that France's NJJ and Iliad are to buy a majority stake in the business is "another significant milestone in the transformation" of the company.

"I believe it is very positive for our customers and indeed for Ireland itself given the combined experience of both entities and will position the company on a very solid footing for the future," he added.