Broadband Service Provision

Question No. 875 answered with Question No. 868.

Questions (874)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

874. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the broadband service being provided to person (details supplied) will be investigated; and when high speed broadband will be made available to this location. [44973/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

According to my Department’s high speed broadband map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie, the premises referred to by the Deputy is one which is indicated as having been passed by eir as part of their rural deployment of high speed broadband. Therefore, that premises should be in a position to order a high speed broadband connection from a provider offering services on the network.

Where a premises in this situation is having difficulty getting connected, my Department's customer service team in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) Division can assist by raising a case with eir.

I advise the Deputy’s constituent to contact the NBP customer service team at broadband@dccae.gov.ie directly, providing their name, phone number, email address and Eircode, as well as details of the issues they are experiencing. My Department will then be in a position to pursue a case on their behalf with eir.

Question No. 875 answered with Question No. 868.

Electric Vehicle Grants

Questions (876)

Robert Troy

Question:

876. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to consider the inclusion of imported hybrid vehicles in the outdoor charge point grant scheme. [44978/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant scheme provides grants of up to €600 towards the cost of installing a home charger. These grants are available for buyers of both new and second-hand electric vehicles whether purchased in Ireland or imported. Purchasers of all types of electric vehicles (including battery electric vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles) which currently qualify or have previously qualified for support under the Electric Vehicle Purchase Grant scheme are eligible for the grant.

Currently, the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant is only available for homes with off-street parking locations where the charger is connected to the domestic electricity supply of the home. Early next year, as set out in the Climate Action Plan, I intend to expand the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant to include locations with shared parking such as apartments.

Broadband Service Provision

Question No. 878 answered with Question No. 868.

Questions (877)

Robert Troy

Question:

877. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the availability of fibre broadband in an area (details supplied). [44979/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

According to my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie, the premises referred to by the Deputy is one which is indicated as having been passed by eir as part of their rural deployment of high speed broadband. Therefore, that premises should be in a position to order a high speed broadband connection from a provider offering services on the network.

Where a premises in this situation is having difficulty getting connected, my Department's Customer Service team in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) Division can assist by raising a case with eir.

I advise the Deputy’s constituent to contact the NBP Customer Service team at broadband@dccae.gov.ie directly, providing their name, phone number, email address and Eircode, as well as details of the issues they are experiencing. My Department will then be in a position to pursue a case on their behalf with eir.

Question No. 878 answered with Question No. 868.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (879)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

879. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the details of contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by his Department or bodies under his aegis that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45059/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

As a matter of course, my Department complies with the procurement framework. However, on occasion, contracts are awarded without a competitive tender. These contracts are approved in accordance with Circular 40/2002 (Public Procurement Guidelines), which recognises that in certain exceptional circumstances, the award of a contract without competitive procurement is justified.

My Department discloses details all contracts in excess of €25,000 awarded without competitive procurement in its Appropriation Account each year.

Since 2017, 34 contracts (totalling €14.6m) have been awarded non-competitively by my Department. Details of these contracts, along with the exception which applies in each case, are shown in the table below.

Year Awarded

Contract

Contract Value

Exception for not following a competitive procurement process

2017

Maintenance of the Department’s core ArcGIS platform.

€684,000

The agent, licensee or franchise holder has sole rights to supply a service or product.

2017

Supplier of geocodes for use in the Department’s mapping systems.

€34,000

The particular service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2017

Software licensing and support for the Department’s virtual server environment.

€109,594

The particular service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2017

Upgrade to the Department’s financial management system.

€74,600

The agent, licensee or franchise holder has sole rights to supply a service or product.

2017

Modelling of the implications for Ireland of the proposed EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.

€350,000

The particular service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2017

Ongoing development and application of energy systems modelling, integrated electricity and gas modelling and policy simulation modelling.

€250,000

The particular service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2017

Supporting the development of Ireland’s first National Mitigation Plan and related technical analytical support.

€61,000

The particular service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2017

Delivery of a waste information and awareness campaign.

€35,000

The particular service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2017

Urgent environmental monitoring at mining sites.

€65,450

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2017

Examination of the technical feasibility and cost of undergrounding the proposed North-South interconnector.

€100,000

The particular service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2017

Provision of legal advice regarding the Corrib gas field project.

€100,000

Due to urgency a competitive process could not be undertaken in the time available.

2017

Purchase of firewalls for the National Cyber Security Centre.

€296,990

Any public knowledge of the operations of the National Cyber Security Centre would be considered a security risk.

2017

Purchase of hardware for the National Cyber Security Centre.

€121,983

Any public knowledge of the operations of the National Cyber Security Centre would be considered a security risk.

2018

Management of the National Digital Research Centre.

€5,250,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2018

Financial and procurement advisory services in relation to the National Broadband Plan.

€1,140,014

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2018

Technical advisory services in relation to the National Broadband Plan.

€1,093,014

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2018

Legal advisory services in relation to the National Broadband Plan.

€1,087,564

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2018

Economic and strategy advisory services in relation to the National Broadband Plan.

€250,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2018

Legal advice in relation to Shell’s proposed divestment of its shareholding of Shell in Corrib Gas Field.

€100,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2018

Investigation into the mine collapse at the Gyproc gypsum mine in Co. Monaghan.

€100,000

Due to urgency a competitive process cannot be undertaken in the time available.

2018

Purchase of servers for the National Cyber Security Centre.

€68,293

Any public knowledge of the operations of the National Cyber Security Centre would be considered a security risk.

2019

Financial and procurement advisory services in support of National Broadband Plan.

€850,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Legal advisory services in support of National Broadband Plan.

€600,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Technical advisory services in support of National Broadband Plan.

€430,375

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Marginal abatement cost curve for Ireland.

€318,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Economic and strategy advisory services in support of National Broadband Plan.

€100,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Simulated cyber operations.

€80,000

Any public knowledge of the operations of the National Cyber Security Centre would be considered a security risk.

2019

iSummation infrastructure licence.

€66,000

The agent, licensee or franchise holder has sole rights to supply a service or product.

2019

Seismic Programme.

€50,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Tax & VAT advisory services in support of National Broadband Plan.

€40,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

GeoDirectory Licence.

€34,000

The service provider has exclusive data or information required to perform a particular task.

2019

Legal drafting services.

€25,000

The service provider possesses a special advantage due to earlier research exclusively carried out in a particular area.

2019

Open source IT forensics training.

€24,500

Any public knowledge of the operations of the National Cyber Security Centre would be considered a security risk.

2019

Repairs of 850 adit at Avoca mine.

€600,000

Due to urgency a competitive process cannot be undertaken in the time available.

€14,589,377

The information requested in relation to the agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for each agency. The Department will request the relevant bodies to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested in respect of their organisations.

Energy Schemes Data

Question No. 881 answered with Question No. 855.

Questions (880)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

880. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the level of funding issued for SEAI grants in each county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45080/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

A range of Government funded grants are available to householders to suit their circumstances and scale of retrofit work they wish to undertake. Over the last year the measures available under these grants have been expanded to promote deeper measures and support the transition away from fossil fuel heating systems.

Since the introduction of these grants nearly 400,000 homes across the country have received an upgrade, representing nearly one home in five across the country.

The table below presents the amount spent, per county, on the Better Energy Homes Scheme, Warmer Homes Scheme and Warmth and Wellbeing Pilot Scheme combined from 2016 to end of September 2019.

Better Energy Homes, Better Energy Warmer Homes and Warmth and Wellbeing Schemes Combined

2016

2017

2018

2019 YTD

Carlow

€344,294

€398,401

€371,669

€766,880

Cavan

€447,627

€521,416

€1,008,773

€714,973

Clare

€696,822

€1,013,857

€903,490

€806,768

Cork

€3,725,078

€3,580,207

€5,251,691

€4,042,527

Donegal

€1,137,115

€1,255,158

€3,113,870

€1,258,690

Dublin

€7,790,073

€15,627,265

€24,816,191

€19,405,988

Galway

€1,551,803

€2,578,829

€2,060,983

€2,177,996

Kerry

€1,030,704

€1,087,345

€2,924,650

€1,166,218

Kildare

€1,404,362

€1,082,946

€1,784,531

€1,826,873

Kilkenny

€867,322

€314,309

€503,877

€518,113

Laois

€959,753

€465,433

€642,696

€786,676

Leitrim

€202,128

€259,694

€424,321

€256,584

Limerick

€1,412,136

€1,577,177

€1,619,337

€1,076,699

Longford

€241,631

€234,408

€359,427

€397,514

Louth

€1,625,832

€910,333

€1,606,023

€1,846,215

Mayo

€1,339,108

€2,145,379

€1,555,489

€1,856,927

Meath

€2,219,215

€1,088,491

€2,390,644

€2,118,018

Monaghan

€231,345

€298,227

€471,790

€356,334

Offaly

€1,071,266

€456,136

€606,922

€557,576

Roscommon

€405,749

€430,129

€872,898

€617,933

Sligo

€557,966

€874,599

€682,601

€707,463

Tipperary

€1,042,079

€1,286,521

€1,248,318

€988,941

Waterford

€794,202

€1,445,988

€1,409,366

€1,944,487

Westmeath

€756,383

€709,176

€864,613

€806,848

Wexford

€1,266,123

€1,928,577

€2,387,486

€983,436

Wicklow

€1,534,021

€1,015,681

€1,319,929

€1,845,358

Total

€34,154,138

€36,085,680

€48,941,585

€42,932,035

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme and Better Energy Communities Scheme facilitate projects spanning across counties and for that reason, a county breakdown is not readily available.

The table below presents the amount spent under the Deep Retrofit Pilot from 2017 (when the pilot was launched) to end of September 2019.

Deep Retrofit Pilot

2017

2018

2019 YTD

Amount Paid (€)

Amount Paid (€)

Amount Paid (€)

€816,000

€4.72m

€2m

* €861,000 spend in 2017 relates to 3 completed homes and 37 homes partially completed.

The table below presents the number of projects and spend from 2016 to end of September 2019 under the Better Energy Communities Scheme.

Better Energy Communities

2016

2017

2018

2019 YTD

No. of Successful Projects (homes completed)

Amount Paid (€)

No. of Successful Projects (homes completed)

Amount Paid (€)

No. of Successful Projects (homes completed)

Amount Paid (€)

No. of Projects Approved (homes completed)

Amount Paid (€) to date

36 (2,013)

€16.7m

46 (1,965)

€22.7m

37 (1,189)

€19.9m

57 (288)

€6.2m

Question No. 881 answered with Question No. 855.

Energy Schemes

Questions (882)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

882. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a reply will issue to queries raised regarding the deep retrofit scheme by a person (details supplied). [45289/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was launched in 2017 as a time bound pilot to investigate the challenges and opportunities of deep retrofit in Ireland. The scheme closed for applications on 19th July in line with the published Application Guidelines.

The scheme is funded by my Department and operated by the SEAI. The Pilot provides 50% funding for energy upgrades to an A BER rating with 95% funding provided for low-income households. The total budget for the scheme this year is €10 million – double the amount spent on the scheme last year. Almost €2m has been paid in grants under the scheme to date in 2019.

As Minister, I have no function in relation to individual applications or the approval of applications. However, the SEAI has informed my officials that they have been in contact directly with the homeowner this week in relation to this query.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (883)

Robert Troy

Question:

883. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of fibre broadband service to an area (details supplied). [45309/19]

View answer

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 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 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.

Since the Government decision in May 2019 to appoint NBI as the Preferred Bidder for the National Broadband Plan contract, work has continued on the due diligence necessary to conclude the contract. This process is progressing towards contract award, which is expected before the end of the year. The network deployment will commence shortly after that.

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 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Work continues on finalising the contract and in parallel to this work, I am considering the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Communications Committee report which was published recently. I will bring my deliberations of the report to Government in due course.

National Broadband Plan Expenditure

Questions (884)

Jack Chambers

Question:

884. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the cost of the roll-out of Project Stratum in view of the cost of the national broadband plan and the potential involvement of a company (details supplied) in both projects. [45324/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I do not propose to comment in detail in respect of a project in another jurisdiction. I understand, however, that the aim of Project Stratum is to improve broadband connectivity by extending Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure to premises across Northern Ireland that cannot yet access such a service. I further understand that while a budget has been identified and a public process of engagement with industry is underway, that the detailed strategy and technical requirements have not yet been published.

Based on learning from Ireland’s NBP process, where the technology approach and project cost were developed through a very detailed engagement with industry in a competitive public procurement process, it would be premature to draw any comparison between the NBP and Project Stratum at this time.

Building rural broadband networks is complex and expensive, as we can see from other jurisdictions. For example, Scotland has recently awarded preferred bidder status to BT for Scottish Borders which comprises approximately 26,090 premises, with an estimated subsidy value of £133m which is around £5,000 per premises ex VAT.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Questions Nos. 886 and 887 answered with Question No. 856.

Questions (885)

Jack Chambers

Question:

885. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if large providers have informed his Department of roll-outs within the intervention area within the six-month timeframe suggested in the context of the national broadband plan and in view of a recent decision by the Commission for Communications Regulation (details supplied); if information has been made publicly available, including when products will be made available to the public; if the specified locations will be removed from the intervention area or overbuilt by a company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45325/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The telecoms market is fully liberalised and regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), who is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions. ComReg published a number of decisions in November 2018 governing the regulation of wholesale broadband access markets (ComReg docs 18/94, 18/95 and 18/96 – available on ComReg’s website). I understand that ComReg, has concluded that certain obligations be imposed on Eir in certain wholesale broadband access markets, with the intention of promoting effective competition by, inter alia, making it easier for other telecoms operators to use Eir’s wholesales services. The obligations include the requirement that Eir publish information in advance regarding its products, services and facilities.

Separately, in relation to the NBP, my Department recently conducted a public consultation to close the ongoing mapping exercise, seeking submissions from operators who wish to have their existing high speed broadband networks, or who have developed plans to invest in high speed broadband networks over the next 7 years, to be included on the Department’s High Speed Broadband Map. That consultation was extended twice at the request of operators, resulting in a total nine week period for submissions and it closed on 30th September 2019.

As part of the consultation, over 180 submissions were received from a variety of stakeholders, including 30 from large and small commercial telecommunications operators, with the remainder from local authority broadband officers and members of the public.

Operator submissions are assessed against the Department’s published assessment criteria. Operators submitting planned investments are required to sign a declaration that they will enter into a Commitment Agreement with the Department if their plans satisfy the assessment criteria and are accepted by the Department as being concrete and credible.

The findings of the consultation, which will be available in the coming weeks, will ensure that the State Intervention Area is up to date and that it reflects commercial operators’ plans and the responses from householders and businesses, in advance of a contract being signed later this year. This will be an important element in concluding the State Aid approval process with the European Commission.

Questions Nos. 886 and 887 answered with Question No. 856.

National Broadband Plan

Questions (888, 889, 890)

Barry Cowen

Question:

888. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if clarification will be provided to the comments made by An Taoiseach in Dáil Éireann on 1 October 2019 regarding the national broadband plan; if a company (details supplied) challenged the maps that caused the delay at the time; the nature of the challenge made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45572/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

889. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to his comments in Dáil Éireann on 15 October 2019 regarding the national broadband plan, the providers or bodies that requested the extension for the deadline of submissions for the national broadband plan; if a company (details supplied) requested same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45573/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

890. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the intervention area for the national broadband plan in terms of the number of premises; when the consultation process in terms of the map will terminate; if the intervention area will be less than the original estimate of 540,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45574/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 888 to 890, inclusive, together.

My Department recently conducted a public consultation to close the ongoing mapping exercise, seeking submissions from operators who wish to have their existing high speed broadband networks, or who have developed plans to invest in high speed broadband networks over the next 7 years, to be included on the Department’s High Speed Broadband Map.

The consultation was extended twice, which provided for a nine week consultation period and closed on 30 September. These extensions were at the request of a number of telecommunications operators, including the operator referenced by the Deputy. Over 180 submissions were received from a variety of stakeholders, including 30 from large and small commercial operators, with the remainder from local authority broadband officers and members of the public.

Operators submitting planned investments were required to sign a declaration that they will enter into a Commitment Agreement with the Department if their plans satisfy the financial and technical assessment criteria and are accepted by the Department as being concrete and credible. My Department is in the process of finalising its assessment of these submissions.

The findings of the consultation, which will be available in the coming weeks, will ensure that the State Intervention Area is up to date and that it reflects commercial operators’ plans and the responses from householders and businesses, in advance of a contract being signed later this year. This will be an important element in concluding the State Aid approval process with the European Commission.