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National Broadband Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 30 June 2020

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Questions (626, 627, 632, 634, 638, 641, 642, 643, 645)

Robert Troy

Question:

626. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the provision of fibre broadband to a property (details supplied). [13022/20]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

627. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13203/20]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

632. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will have access to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13340/20]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

634. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will have access to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13342/20]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

638. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will have access to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13346/20]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

641. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will have access to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13349/20]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

642. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will have access to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13350/20]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

643. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a location (details supplied) will have access to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13351/20]

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Holly Cairns

Question:

645. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding the provision of broadband for a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13518/20]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 626, 627, 632, 634, 638, 641 to 643, inclusive, and 645 together.

The Questions refer to 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). 

The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 150Mbps from the outset.  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. The Government is committed to delivering high speed broadband to every home, farm, business and school in Ireland and my Department continues to engage with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of this rollout to establish the possibility of bringing forward premises which are currently scheduled in years 6 and 7 of the current plan to an earlier date. Further information on deployment activities associated with the rollout can be found on the NBI website http://www.nbi.ie. I understand that some of the premises referred to are close to premises that are passed by eir’s fibre network.  eir’s rural deployment of high speed broadband is a commercial undertaking and, as such, decisions regarding the areas and premises served are made by eir. My Department has no role in the matter and has no statutory authority to intervene in decisions of commercial operators, as to where they build infrastructure and provide services.

Throughout rural Ireland, eir’s fibre deployment is primarily focussed on towns and villages and the premises on their outskirts. Where that network ends is where the National Broadband Plan in effect commences to ensure that nobody is left behind. I appreciate the frustration of the Deputy’s constituents when they are living so close to a fibre network but cannot get a connection to that network, particularly given the heightened importance of connectivity during the Covid-19 pandemic and the individual circumstances referred to. The NBP will ensure that in all such cases a future proofed high speed broadband network will be built to serve these premises and work to deliver on this commenced earlier this year.

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. 

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