Eir has agreed a deal with InfraVia to set up a joint venture partnership for its wholesale fibre broadband network that will help to accelerate the roll-out of high-speed internet across the country.

InfraVia is private equity firm which specialises in infrastructure and technology investment.

Eir said the new investment will increase the pace of expansion of its fibre broadband network and it now estimates that 200,000 homes will be passed in 2022, increasing to 250,000 homes in 2023.

Today's deal will see a new subsidiary of eir formed, named Fibre Networks Ireland Limited, that will allow InfraVia to take a 49% share in eir's network.

Fibre Networks Ireland will provide passive broadband access eir's wholesale arm, open eir, which in turn will continue to supply wholesale broadband, voice, and other services to its customers including Eir and other major telecoms companies.

Fibre broadband use in Ireland has grown rapidly in recent years and eir said it now aims to pass 1.9 million premises by the end of 2026.

This will provide Ireland, in combination with the National Broadband Plan, with over 90% coverage of all premises at the conclusion of both projects.

Eir CFO Stephen Tighe said the establishment of Fibre Networks Ireland provides a vehicle for further investment in the company's already extensive network.

"Eir's mission has always been to connect people through great quality services. Through this exciting partnership with InfraVia we can improve our ability to connect customers faster than ever before and ensure that more homes in Ireland can access the high-speed internet that has become an increasingly important part of how we live our lives," Mr Tighe added.

Bruno Candès, Partner at InfraVia Capital Partners, said that fibre internet access is a critical service that enables an inclusive digital transformation.

"This investment builds on our existing track record in Ireland and our deep communications infrastructure experience across Europe. We look forward to working with eir in this partnership in the years ahead," he added.