Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (51)

Emer Higgins

Question:

51. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the national broadband plan regarding offshore islands; if work has commenced on analysing the needs of the islands and on surveying; when the roll-out of the plan will commence on the islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6639/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract to roll out a high speed and future proofed broadband network within the Intervention Area which includes the islands and covers 1.1 million people living and working in the over 544,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along with 695 schools. The deployment plan forecasts construction commenced in all counties within the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State having access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) that, as of 22 January 2021, over 166,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed under the National Broadband Plan. Surveying is the first step towards delivering the new fibre network and involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This informs design solutions for provision of the fibre network to each and every premises in the surveyed area and leads to detailed designs. Survey data is also needed to initiate pre-works which pave the way for the deploying of fibre. I understand that surveying is expected to commence in a number of islands later this year.

Further details are available on specific areas through the NBI website which provides a facility for any premises within the intervention area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website www.nbi.ie. Individuals who register with this facility will receive regular updates on progress by NBI on delivering the network and specific updates related to their own premises as works commence. I am advised that NBI is working to provide more detail on its website, with a rolling update on network build plans. NBI also has a dedicated email address, reps@nbi.ie, which can be used by Oireachtas members for specific queries.

Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are a key element of the NBP providing high speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll out of the fibre to the home network. As of 30 January, 260 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and the high speed broadband service will be switched on in these locations through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly accessible sites and by the Department of Education for schools. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.

My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise schools with no high speed broadband as part of the BCP initiative, within the Intervention Area, for connection over the term of the NBP which includes the Islands. In this regard, an acceleration of this aspect of the National Broadband Plan was announced in December which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026. Further details are available on the NBI website at https://nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.

The following table sets out the BCP sites that have been installed, connected or are in planning on the Islands.

Site Name

Eircode

County

Installed

Connected

School

CLARE ISLAND COMMUNITY CENTRE

F28KP99

MAYO

Yes

Yes

-

BERE ISLAND HERITAGE CENTRE

P75W660

CORK

Yes

Yes

-

SHERKIN ISLAND COMMUNITY HALL

P81AE02

CORK

Yes

In Planning

-

COLÁISTE PHOBAL CLÉIRE

P81P627

CORK

Yes

In Planning

-

SCOIL CAOMHAIN

H91C967

GALWAY

Yes

In Planning

Yes

COMHAR NA NOILEÁN

H91D27X

GALWAY

Yes

Yes

-

INISHBOFIN COMMUNITY CENTRE

H91TC6C

GALWAY

In planning

In Planning

-

KILRONAN LIBRARY

H91WN93

GALWAY

Yes

In Planning

-

Cable Station

V23H685

KERRY

Yes

Yes

-

TORY CO-OP

F92FD66

DONEGAL

Yes

Yes

-

CHAPELTOWN

V23H240

KERRY

Yes

Yes

-