On 19 November, the Government signed the contract with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to provide access to high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in 537,537 premises, including 44,000 businesses and over 54,500 farms and 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.
National Broadband Ireland will set up a wholesale open access company dedicated to the rollout of a predominantly fibre to the premises (FTTP) network in the Intervention Area, which will be capable of delivering a future-proofed high speed broadband network, initially providing services of 150Mbps to the majority of homes and up to 1Gbps to heavy data users and Small and Medium size Enterprises.
Work by NBI will begin immediately and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.
Approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local sports halls across every county in Ireland will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.
By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises. Approximately 70,000-100,000 premises will be passed each year thereafter, with the final premises to be completed in 2026.
The take up of recently built fibre to the home networks in rural areas indicates strong and accelerating demand for services. NBI will ensure equal access to the network for all wholesale and retail operators. Under the National Broadband Plan contract there are also obligations on NBI to engage with stakeholders and to raise awareness of the rollout of the service.
The initial connection charge and the monthly charges from service providers to those living in rural Ireland will be similar to those paid by residents in urban areas with the ability to avail of services such as voice, broadband, TV from the same service provider.