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Broadband Service Provision

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 December 2014

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Questions (37)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

37. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a timetable of the objectives outlined by the broadband mapping project; the way he will ensure that all communities have a basic access to broadband by the timetable outlined; the costs surrounding this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47262/14]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combination of commercial investments and a State-led intervention in areas where commercial services will not be provided.

On the 24 November, the Minister launched a public consultation on the National High Speed Coverage Map 2016. This allows all members of the public, be they business or residential, to see whether or not their premises/home is included in the Government’s proposed intervention. It also provides detailed information on a county by county basis as to which villages and townlands are to be included.

This map can be accessed at www.broadband.gov.ie . There is a wealth of data and information available here to better inform citizens about the detail of the Government’s ambitious plan to ensure all parts of Ireland have access to high quality broadband services.

The next steps in this process will see a further public consultation on a detailed intervention strategy in mid-2015. A detailed procurement process will be undertaken in order to select a potential preferred bidder(s) towards the end of 2015. It is expected that the physical build of this network will commence from 2016.

Detailed technical, legal, regulatory, financial and economic evaluations are required to ensure that the tender will be designed in such a way that maximises efficiencies, meets deadlines and keeps the cost to taxpayers as low as possible.

The scale of the planned intervention means it is likely that the overall cost will be significant. However, given that this is a large-scale public procurement process, it would not be sensible to publicise the expected cost at this stage.

This complex and ambitious project is a key priority for Government. It aims to conclusively address current connectivity challenges in Ireland.

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