Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (995)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

995. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeline for areas (details supplied) to be connected to fibre broadband as part of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4807/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Government is committed to delivering high speed broadband to every home, farm, business and school in Ireland. It is vital that we ensure the people of rural Ireland have the same opportunities as the people in our towns and cities.

The Deputy's Question refers to two premises which are located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed in November last with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years. The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 150Mbps from the outset.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, including County Galway, will be connected to high speed broadband this year, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. 20 BCPs are planned for deployment in Galway. 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.

All BCPs will have a free public Wi-Fi connection, 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.

By the end of next year, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed.