Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1210)

Robert Troy

Question:

1210. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason a number of properties (details supplied) have not been included in the fibre roll-out of a company due to the location of these properties within a large town setting; and his plans to ensure this anomaly is corrected by the company as soon as possible. [18488/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The premises referred to 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. The Deputy makes reference to the premises' proximity to a 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 an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part 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 such commercial decisions of private operators, and therefore cannot direct operators regarding infrastructure installation or delivery of services.

The National Broadband Plan intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government Decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to NBI, subject to the completion of the final contract arrangements. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after contract signature.

In the first year of this roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. A deployment plan will be made available by the bidder once the contract is signed. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Question No. 1211 answered with Question No. 1203.