Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (41)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

41. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the extent of the progress to date in the provision of high quality, high-speed broadband throughout the country; the progress in respect of the linking up of coverage and elimination of black spots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41205/18]

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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 is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment and a State intervention.  Today, over 7 out of 10 premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. Evaluation of the final tender submission is ongoing and will be allowed the time required.  On conclusion of the evaluation, my Department will make a recommendation to me on whether to appoint the bidder as preferred bidder and I will bring the matter to Government for decision.  

There are just over 91,000 premises in Co Kildare.  Commercial operators are providing, or have indicated plans to provide high speed broadband to approximately 76,000 of these premises.  eir has plans to deliver access to high speed broadband to a further 1,400 premises in Kildare as part of  its ongoing rural fibre deployment.

The remaining approximately 13,600 premises, some 15% of all premises in Kildare, will be included in the network to be built under the National Broadband Plan State led intervention.

When this Government came into office in 2016, 75% of premises in Kildare had access to a high speed broadband service. Today, 84% of premises in Kildare have access to a high speed broadband service and this is set to increase in the months ahead.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, 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. The Department of Rural and Community Development maintain a list of Broadband Officers, a link to which is available on my Department's website at https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/topics/Broadband/national-broadband-plan/Pages/NBP-Information-Leaflets.aspx

Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 32.