Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (68)

Marian Harkin

Question:

68. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the timeline for an area (details supplied) in County Leitrim to be connected to broadband as part of the roll-out of the national broadband plan. [6748/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Question refers to an area located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website 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.

I appreciate people's frustration 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. 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 is underway. 

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that, as of 26 January 2021, over 166,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed. 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. Surveys in County Leitrim have been completed around Carrick-on Shannon. Further details are available on specific areas within County Leitrim 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 school BCPs. BCPs are installed at Gortlettragh Community Centre, Donaghmore Workhouse and Famine Museum and Glencar Waterfall. The BCP site at Aghanlish Community Centre is installed and connected. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/. 

Aughawillan National School and Saint Michael's Primary School have been connected for educational access as part of this initiative. My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise schools with no high speed broadband, within the Intervention Area, for connection over the term of the NBP. 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/.