I propose to take Questions Nos. 502 and 503 together.
Both premises referenced by the Deputy are in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process.
The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. I intend to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.
The Deputy makes reference to both of the premises being located close to the commercial deployment of high speed broadband. This deployment is part of Eir's commercial roll out of high speed broadband to 300,000 predominantly rural premises, in line with a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.
Eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is a privately funded commercial undertaking and is not a phase of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of the Commitment Agreement, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.
Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the roll out and siting of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland are undertaken on a commercial basis. I have no statutory role or function in these commercial decisions and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.
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 Local Authority Broadband Officers is continuing. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements.