Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (1052)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

1052. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the persons and entities that can make an application to the BCP programme. [7240/21]

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, in more isolated or remote rural areas, including some of our off-shore islands.

The BCPs will make onsite broadband access available for a variety of uses, such as remote working, remote study, eHealth, education and training, arts and culture, and general community use. To date, sites that have been selected as BCPs are situated in community centres, libraries and sports clubs.

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 the first instance, potential 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://assets.gov.ie/3908/061218122032-88ceac03820f4db6b6807c6178f5c2b4.pdf

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.

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.

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