Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1215)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

1215. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when high-speed fibre broadband will be available to areas in the vicinity of Tullyallen, County Louth (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18637/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention. The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of all 2.4 million Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 74% of premises can access high speed broadband.

In April 2017 my Department published an updated version of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map. This is available at www.broadband.gov.ie . The map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan. The Map is colour coded and searchable by address/Eircode:

- The AMBER area represents the parts of the country where commercial operators have no plans to build high speed broadband networks. Premises in the AMBER area will be provided with high Speed Broadband through a State Intervention.

- The BLUE area represents those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services.

- The LIGHT BLUE area represents eir's commercial rural deployment plans to rollout high speed broadband to 300,000 premises as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

The table below details the percentage of premises to be covered by the State Intervention and through commercial investment in the areas identified by the Deputy.

Townland

Premises within the NBP Intervention Area

Premises within Commercial Operator’s Area

Premises within eir planned rural deployment

Tullyallen (Gleann Alainn estate)

38% (167)

62% (273)

0% (2)

Balgatheran

36% (32)

63% (55)

1% (1)

Hill Of Rath

79% (128)

21% (35)

0% (0)

Under a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017, eir is in the process of passing 300,000 predominantly rural homes with high speed broadband. According to data for Q4 2018 submitted by eir to my Department the company has passed almost 225,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment.

Information on eir's rural deployment is available on that company’s website, http://fibrerollout.ie/Eircode-lookup/. A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website, www.dccae.gov.ie .

The National Broadband 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 Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government has agreed to this.

The Government Decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to Granahan McCourt, subject to the completion of the final stage of the procurement process, including finalisation of financial and legal documents. 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.