Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (32)

Seán Sherlock


32. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he expects a penetration rate of 100% to be achieved under the national broadband plan. [7342/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) will deliver high speed broadband access of a minimum 30 megabits per second to 100% of premises in Ireland.

  Today 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. Since this Government came into office almost 400,000 additional premises have access to a high speed broadband service. This will increase to nearly 8 out of 10 premises by the end of this year and by 2020, 9 out of 10 premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This is being achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

Part of that commercial investment is eir’s ongoing rural deployment of high speed broadband to 300,000 premises.  That deployment is targeting a deliverable of circa 40,000 premises per quarter for this year.  Based on that rate of deployment building the NBP high speed network would take approximately three years.

It is a reality of any infrastructure rollout of this scale that there will be those isolated and harder to reach premises and areas which will take longer than this to pass. This is an unavoidable fact. However, it is my firm resolve that the occupants of these premises will not wait any longer than necessary to receive the service they need.

The actions and measures I have initiated through the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce will facilitate as efficient a rollout as possible as well as assisting any ongoing commercial investments.

Working with the Broadband Officers in each Local Authority and with the Department of Rural and Community Development, my Department has identified Strategic Community Points across all counties where services can be connected at an early stage after award of the NBP contract.  As fibre connections to villages and communities continue to improve, so too will public wifi which provides people with greater accessibility to better services.