Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2272)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

2272. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of homes in counties Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Roscommon in the amber intervention area for the national broadband plan; when the roll-out of the plan will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33436/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision on 7th May this year, to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas.

The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 75% of the 2.4 million premises in Ireland can access high speed broadband.

The High Speed Broadband Map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie, 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 NBP. The Map is colour coded and searchable by address and Eircode.

The table below outlines the number of premises where access to this vital service will be delivered under the State-led intervention (AMBER).

County Name

AMBER

Premises within the NBP State Intervention Area

Sligo

14,341 (36%)

Leitrim

11,281 (50%)

Donegal

34,179 (33%)

Roscommon

18,471 (47%)

Information on a county by county basis is available on my Department’s website at https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/County%20Statistics.pdf.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder subject to contract close and the finalisation of financial and legal requirements; this work is progressing. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after contract close.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. In the first year of 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.

The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70,000-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll-out is completed.

Question No. 2273 answered with Question No. 2168.