The 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, 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. 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.
My Department is in the final stages of the formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area.
I welcome the recently published European Court of Auditors report on broadband in EU Member States and acknowledge the comments on Ireland's progress under the National Broadband Plan (NBP). I also note that the referenced report acknowledges Ireland's overall improved performance in broadband coverage. I further welcome the overall positive comments from the ECA regarding Ireland's progress towards achieving the ambition of the EU Digital Agenda for 2020 - "Connectivity for a Gigabit Society". A key element of the NBP is to build a future proofed network which will ultimately support future European connectivity goals, including the EU ambition that, by 2025:
- all schools, transport hubs and main providers of public services as well as digitally intensive enterprises should have access to internet connections with download/upload speeds of 1 Gigabit of data per second;
- all European households, rural or urban, should have access to networks offering a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, which can be upgraded to 1 Gigabit; and
- all urban areas as well as major roads and railways should have uninterrupted 5G wireless broadband coverage.