Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (1051)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

1051. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of additional BCP programme applications received per local authority area to date; the average waiting time for assessment and approval; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7239/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are among the first premises to be connected in the State intervention area under the National Broadband Plan (NBP). They are publicly accessible premises, such as community centres, libraries and sports clubs in more isolated or remote rural areas, including some of our off-shore islands.

At this point, the majority of sites for inclusion in the BCP project have been identified and the installation programme is at an advanced stage. The intention is to have approximately 300 sites connected in the coming months. Notwithstanding this, there remains a small amount of capacity for additional sites. In general terms, a potential BCP will:

- be located within the NBP State intervention area;

- be a publicly accessible site with the potential for indoor and outdoor use;

- have adequate public liability insurance in place;

- show clear potential for public benefit.

Potential additional BCP locations should be discussed with the relevant Local Authority Broadband Officer who will offer advice and help coordinate an application. Contact details for the Local Authority Broadband Officers are available at: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/215136-mobile-phone-and-broadband-taskforce/#broadband-officers-contact-list

On receipt of a completed application, officials at my Department make an initial assessment based on a number of factors, including location and proximity to similar facilities, proposed use of the site, local needs, community involvement, and the long-term viability of BCP services at the site. This assessment takes place within days of receipt.

When an application passes this phase, it is forwarded to officials at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications for cost and viability assessments. This process can take a number of weeks as a physical survey must also be carried out before a final determination can be made on a premises's suitability for use as a BCP.

Details of all installed and planned BCPs are available at https://nbi.ie/bcp-map/. It should be noted that this is a constantly evolving situation and subject to change. Sites may be removed from the list if they are passed by commercial operators or become unavailable for other reasons. New sites are also regularly identified, assessed and approved for inclusion.

For example, in the last six months, my Department has received a total of 91 additional applications, of which 68 have been provisionally approved, subject to site surveys. Sites that were not approved did not meet the requirements outlined above and/or where the survey could not identify a viable solution.

Details of the additional sites by county are provided on the table below. The total number of approved BCPs at this point in time is 266.

County

Confirmed BCPs at Aug 2020

Additional applications received since Aug. 2020

Additional applications approved

Total approved/provisionally approved

Carlow

5

4

3

8

Cavan

11

1

1

12

Clare

5

2

2

7

Cork Co

17

1

1

18

Donegal

11

1

1

12

Dublin DLR

1

1

Dublin Fingal

4

3

3

7

Dublin SDCC

1

1

Galway Co

7

13

12

19

Kerry

9

9

Kildare

4

4

Kilkenny

6

6

Laois

4

9

0

4

Leitrim

8

3

3

11

Limerick

2

22

12

14

Longford

8

8

Louth

7

7

Mayo

10

5

5

15

Meath

9

7

6

15

Monaghan

12

3

3

15

Offaly

7

3

2

9

Roscommon

8

8

Sligo

5

2

2

7

Tipperary

8

10

10

18

Waterford

4

4

Westmeath

6

1

1

7

Wexford

10

10

Wicklow

9

1

1

10

198

91

68

266