Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Questions (162)

Brian Stanley

Question:

162. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeframe for the commencement of the national broadband plan (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25759/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

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.