Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (262, 263, 264)

Jack Chambers

Question:

262. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will confirm that his Department has agreed to remove already connected premises from the intervention area of the national broadband plan. [48227/19]

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Jack Chambers

Question:

263. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will confirm that further commitment agreements entered into in the intervention area of the national broadband plan would be in line with those set down in managing the high speed broadband map and the previous commitment agreements entered into by commercial operators.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48228/19]

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Jack Chambers

Question:

264. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he plans to add additional unbuilt premises to the intervention area of the national broadband plan; the reason these premises were not included in previous maps; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48229/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 to 264, inclusive, together.

As a State intervention, the NBP must comply with the requirements of the European Commission’s Guidelines on the application of State aid rules for broadband networks. The Guidelines require, amongst other things, that Member States carry out a detailed mapping exercise to identify as far as reasonably possible those areas where intervention is required.

Having consulted with industry on an ongoing basis over the past four years, my Department recently conducted a final public consultation to close the mapping exercise in advance of the award of the NBP contract. Having evaluated the submissions received, approximately 38,000 premises were removed from the intervention area as commercial operators provided evidence that these premises can now access a high speed broadband service from an existing network.

The commitment agreement entered into in 2017 in respect of the eir 300k fibre network, related to premises that were removed from the intervention area on the basis of a future concrete plan by a commercial operator for a network that was yet to be built. The purpose of that commitment agreement was to provide an appropriate level of assurance that a planned network build would be given effect to.

Following the recent public consultation, approximately 37,000 premises originally identified as being served by commercial operators have now been included in the intervention area for the NBP, as commercial operators plans to serve these premises have not materialised. The map has also been updated for approximately an additional 2,000 premises identified in the latest Ordinance Survey Ireland data.

I can confirm that the final Intervention Area now covers 537,596 premises.

The NBP contract, which was signed yesterday, provides that the future proofed high speed broadband network to be deployed by National Broadband Ireland will also pass and connect new premises built in the intervention area over the next 25 years.