You may not have heard of Siro but there’s a good chance — 450,000 chances in fact — that it’s right outside your door.
“There are a number of retailers selling broadband in Ireland but Siro is a wholesaler, this means we build a fully fibre broadband network and make it available to more than 20 retailers to sell to customers,” explains Suzanne Tracy, Siro’s chief technology officer.
As such, Siro competes with other wholesalers, such as Eir.
The broadband market in Ireland has grown significantly, she points out, driven by demand for online services such as in home entertainment, education, working from home, banking and shopping.
As digital demand has grown, the cabling along which data flows has changed.
“Traditional telecoms networks carried data traffic over copper lines. Today the focus is on fully fibre networks to bring faster speeds and better service to every customer. Fibre to the home or premise means a dedicated fibre line to that end point,” says Tracy.
That means no more glitchy games just because all the neighbourhood kids are online at the same time, for example.
Siro launched 1Gbps broadband in 2015 and 2Gbps in autumn 2021. “We have already futureproofed our network and can offer speeds of up to 10Gbps in all locations today,” she says.
“We anticipate the demand for speed and resilience to continue to grow as the digital economy and sustainability stay front and centre in society.”
Siro is a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone. “We build on the ESB electrical infrastructure, utilising its poles and ducts across the medium and low-voltage networks. Vodafone is a global telecommunications company, a global market leader in building and operating fixed and mobile networks,” she explains.
“Having these two successful companies as effective parents creates trust with our stakeholders as we build and rollout the Siro network.”
The fast pace of take-up shows the strength of demand for reliable fast broadband.
A new customer goes live on its network every two minutes and SIRO ensures more than 75% of its installations are completed on the first visit to the customers’ premises or home.
“That is a great comfort to our retail partners. They know that when they place an order with Siro we will give the customer excellent service at installation and a guaranteed 99.999 per cent service availability when the service is live. We are a trusted partner. It is a competitive market that we cannot take for granted, so we have to outperform every day for every customer to hold that trust,” she points out.
Siro currently passes the door of some 450,000 homes and premises in the country and will soon be passing up to 800,000 properties. You too can do your own homework to check if Siro is available to your home by putting your Eircode into the location checker on Siro.ie.
“If you want to move provider or change service, I recommend you go for a full ‘fibre to the premises’ product, because this will give you a dedicated fibre connection with fast speed and futureproof you and your family’s utilisation options,” says Tracy.
She means that if you have an old copper wire, or your broadband isn’t meeting your needs then switching to Siro, if available in your area, can solve the problem. There is no additional cost to the customer to cover Siro’s installation works. You can then buy your broadband service from a range of retailers/service providers.
Switching is something all of us will have to consider in any case, as the older copper infrastructure is being retired and will suffer from lack of investment as the industry moves to fully fibre networks.
For families, broadband is no longer a ‘nice to have’ extra but rather an essential utility, as important as electricity. The pandemic showed us its worth, and its potential, when so much activity, from education to work, cooking and socialising, was conducted online.
For Tracy, good broadband was vital long before the pandemic.
She and her family moved house in 2014, and the availability of good broadband was “way more important to her than choosing the kitchen cabinets,” she recalls.
“It was a new build so needed a new line into the house, it took several weeks to complete, so I was back to a mobile dongle for data services when not in the office. I am now on Siro 1Gbps and, I am very happy with the service. Fear of broadband going down used to induce anxiety in me, but not now, the services is so reliable, I never have to give it a second thought” she adds.
Connectivity and slow speed is still a reality in some parts of urban Ireland, just as it can be in rural Ireland. That is something Siro aims to rectify.
Siro started its journey by rolling out our fibre network across regional cities and towns, including Limerick, Galway, Waterford and parts of Cork City. We also went into a lot of commuter towns around Dublin and the M50, she explains.
“Service issues are not confined to those in rural areas," she says. “There are service issues in urban areas too. We are focusing on large parts of Dublin south, Dublin north, and west Dublin in our current rollout. We see the steady demand for our services across all regional towns, cities and areas within Dublin that we have built,” she says. “Penetration and take-up of Siro’s broadband network is very consistent as we rollout to each new town. We work hard to provide and maintain a quality service and this approach is paying off”, she notes.
The ‘in-home’ performance of your broadband is managed by the wi-fi service, so to get best results it is important to optimise that. Siro brings the fibre network into the home following the electrical route and tests the performance at the modem to confirm the speed is as it should be, she points out.
“We also help the homeowner select the best location for the modem, identifying weaker wi-fi spots to avoid. A number of retailers are now offering wi-fi booster products which we install on their behalf. In some larger homes you could have up to three wi-fi extenders covering all floors,” she explains.
Fibre to the room is a product that Siro is considering as an option to offer in the future. “This is where the Fibre broadband technology is extended around the house. It means cabling into more rooms, but it can be done subtly along skirting boards. Effectively you are bringing the service into each room, reducing the pressure on the wi-fi reach,” she explains.
If you don’t already have a Siro fibre to the home or building/premise package, it may require a new installation. “It is not a model swap,” she explains. It will require a cable route into your home, Siro will complete this work when installing your broadband service.
But doing so future proofs your home. “Once you have Siro installed, you can switch around retail providers based on whatever contract, service levels or discount or promotional packages they are offering. You have choice,” says Tracy.
You also have peace of mind. “In the years ahead, modems and wi-fi routers will continually evolve to manage the bandwidth as the number of connected devices continues to grow, but not the fibre cable itself, there is longevity in it with a life span of over 20-25 years considered the industry standard.”
Search your Eircode on www.siro.ie.