Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (47, 89, 95, 96, 98)

Michael Creed

Question:

47. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications when a location (details supplied) in County Cork will be connected under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6437/21]

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Holly Cairns

Question:

89. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if his attention has been drawn to the ongoing issues with reliable broadband in west County Cork (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6903/21]

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Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

95. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications when a premises (details supplied) will be connected to broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7019/21]

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Thomas Gould

Question:

96. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if his attention has been drawn to the fact that no broadband is available in Donoughmore, County Cork; and the timeline for the delivery of broadband to the area. [7173/21]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

98. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will address a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied) relating to broadband provision. [7206/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 89, 95, 96 and 98 together.

The Questions refers to premises and an area which are 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 under way.

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) that, as of 26 January 2021, over 166,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed. There are some 79,424 premises located in the Intervention Area in County Cork of which 16,132 have been surveyed. Surveys have been completed in Midleton, Cullen, Templebreedy, Carrigaline, Ballyfoyle, Douglas, Ballyphehane, Glasheen, Mahon and Kilpatrick, with surveys underway in Ballydesmond, Kiskeam, Umeraboy, Knocknagree, Rineen, Cullen, Coolinarna, Millstreet, Hollymount and Caherbarnagh. Pre-build works are underway in Fountainstown, Ballinhassig, Monkstown, and Upper Rochestown. The first fibre to the home connections are successfully connected in Carrigaline and construction work is continuing with significant technical testing and validation taking place prior to wider release of the area.

Further details are available on specific areas within County Cork 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. BCP’s connected in Cork are Ballindangan Community Centre, Aghabullogue Community Centre (in the area of Donoughmore), Castletownkenneigh Community Centre, Lissavard Community Centre, Whitechurch Community Centre and T.O. Park Labbamollaga. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.

Clogagh and Ballycroneen National School will be provided with high speed broadband for educational use 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 the schools aspect of the project was announced late last year and 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/.