Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (581)

Billy Kelleher


581. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date for the rollout of high speed broadband for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9676/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government's national broadband plan, NBP, aims to ensure high speed broadband access, minimum 30 megabits per second, to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today, almost seven out of ten 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 high speed broadband. This will increase to nearly eight out of ten premises by the end of this year and by 2020, nine out of ten 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. The premises referred to by the Deputy is in an amber area on my Department’s high speed broadband map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. It is therefore included in the State intervention area under the national broadband plan, NBP.

In April 2017 the map was updated, moving 84,500 premises from the blue to the amber area. This was done because commercial operator plans in those areas had not materialised. The premises referred to by the Deputy was among the number moved from blue to amber.

My Department is in a formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area. That procurement process is now in its final stages.

In the interim, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the mobile phone and broadband taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the broadband officers is continuing to strengthen.  These broadband officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities.  The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure.  There is a link to a list of these local broadband officers on my Department's website.