The parts of Ireland that have "the worst broadband at the moment" will have access to 5G fixed wireless broadband within 18 months, according to the chief executive of Imagine.
The communications group launched its commercial rollout of high-speed broad in regional and rural Ireland today, with the goal of connecting over a million homes to the service.
Among those are up to 400,000 premises earmarked for intervention under the Government's National Broadband Plan.
It is an ambitious plan, but can Imagine deliver a reliable wireless service in this short timeframe? Sean Bolger, CEO of Imagine, said they can "absolutely" guarantee coverage when the technology is wireless.
"What we have announced today is that we are going to use the very latest 5G technology, which is a wireless technology, which means we bring fibre to a mast and then we use wireless to connect directly to homes," he said.
Mr Bolger said the firm will professionally install a box on the eaves of houses "which means we can guarantee the service".
Sean Bolger explaining how 5G fixed wireless technology works as his company Imagine launches its high speed broadband proposition. Aims to reach 400k premises in the National Broadband Plan intervention area by June next year, 1 million premises in total. pic.twitter.com/7BfLgCOF1b— Will Goodbody (@willgoodbody) February 13, 2019
The rollout of the National Broadband Plan will involve the roll out of fibre cables, which has been described as 'future proof'.
But Mr Bolger said he does not believe connecting fibre to every home is practical.
"The technology of fibre to the home meant a lot of digging, bringing cables to homes which wasn't very practical. It was very ambitious in Ireland, but it's been difficult every where in the world and it takes years to do that."
He says 5G technology is the future.
Imagine proposes bringing cable to broadband transmission sites as part of its 5G fixed broadband network. It will have 155 sites live by June this year, with a total of 325 sites live by June 2020.
Imagine is to invest several hundred million in the network. "Everybody else is building out in towns and cities, so the big message is this is an investment in rural Ireland, and hopefully we are going to get broadband to people as quickly as possible," Mr Bolger said.