The National Broadband Plan (NBP) contract was signed with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) in November last to roll out a high speed and future proofed broadband network within the Intervention Area which covers 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along with 695 schools. Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), in community facilities within every county in Ireland, including Kildare, are scheduled to be connected to high speed broadband this year, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.The planned BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie. It should be noted that some BCP locations may be subject to change.
The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.
BCPs will leverage the high speed broadband connection through a range of measures and initiatives, for example providing free public Wi-Fi, some will also have hot-desks, and some will be digital hub business centres where digital training, business information events and other SME supports are organised.
The BCP delivery project is well underway and it involves extensive coordination between my Department, the Department of Rural and Community Development, NBI, Local Authority Broadband Officers and BCP site owners.
The surveying of the BCP locations is well progressed, including the BCP locations in Co. Kildare. Once this site survey exercise has been completed, the technical solution will be finalised and the installation of each of the sites will be scheduled.
Following installation, the final step for these locations to start providing public Wi-Fi services is for a retail broadband service provider to be appointed. I understand that the Department of Rural and Community Development has concluded the procurement process to appoint a retail service provider.