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.
There are a number of stages required to roll out the new high speed broadband network including:-
- survey work to inform detailed designs for each deployment area ( over 22k premises are already surveyed);
- the repair and make ready activities conducted by eir to ensure the poles and ducts that are used in each deployment area are fit for purpose;
- the installation of the electronic equipment in each exchange building for each deployment area;
- the activation of the backhaul connectivity to each exchange building ;
- the development of NBI IT systems that allow operator place orders and schedule connections etc;
- the laying of the physical fibre along the poles and ducts;and
- if an order is placed the activation of the final connection to the actual premises.
NBI are working to ensure these activities are implemented, by mobilising their own staff and ramping up their capacity to deliver the project, including through multiple subcontractor procurements. While many of these activities are underway, the deployment of fibre to pass homes is a Q4 2020 activity and the first homes passed will be able to get connected before the end of this year. By the end of next year, NBI plans to pass in the region of 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. 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.
Further details on deployment activities and progress with the roll out are available on the NBI website at www.nbi.ie.
To support remote working and connected communities, approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs) were identified by Local Authorities to be connected to high speed broadband this year. This will assist communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband in advance of the main NBP deployment. The planned BCP locations, including schools, library hubs, local sports facilities and other public places are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.broadband.gov.ie . The BCP delivery project is well underway and surveying of the BCP locations is progressing which will facilitate detailed design and installation. BCP locations are subject to change and a number of the premises initially identified are in the process of being replaced with alternative locations. The remaining BCPs remain on track for delivery by the end of 2020.
The BCPs in identified public places 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.