The State invested in the construction of 88 Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), covering 94 regional cities. This MANs infrastructure provides a link between national backhaul networks and the “last mile” access networks that deliver telecommunications services to citizens and businesses. These wholesale, open access fibre networks are operated and managed in a commercial manner, on behalf of the State, by a Managed Services Entity (MSE),called enet. Currently, over 65 operators use the MANs infrastructure, and there are some 2,500 connections to the MANs. It is estimated that in excess of 600,000 business users and individuals are benefitting from the MANs, including industrial estates, multinationals, SMEs, State entities, educational institutions, together with fixed and mobile customers outside Dublin. It is not possible to provide information relating to the percentage of commercial customers, since data relating to end customers is a matter for each individual service provider.
With reference to the Action Plan for Rural Development, the MSE continues to actively encourage licensed operators to utilise the MANs infrastructure. My Department is currently making arrangements to carry out an independent evaluation of the operations of the MANs, including pricing of the MANs products and services to ensure that they are within market norms. Recommendations are also being sought as to proposals to boost further uptake of the MANs.