Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (52)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

52. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the timescale for the fibre roll-out in the intervention areas in County Donegal under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9809/21]

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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 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.

There are a total of 102,564 premises in County Donegal of which 70,191 premises (68%) are served by commercial operators and 32,373 premises (32%) are in the Intervention Area.

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that, as of 15 February 2021, over 178,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed. Some 4,042 premises have been surveyed in Co Donegal including in the areas Milford, Letterkenny, Ramelton, Termon, Ballymacool, Kilmacrennan, Mullaghfin and Tommyscroft. Further details are available on specific areas within County Donegal 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 15 February, 274 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 the Department of Education for schools. BCP sites connected in Donegal are Ray Community Centre, Leghowney Community Centre, Dunree Military Museum, Cranford Coole Community Centre, the Gweedore Theatre and Meenreagh Hostel. 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, 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. Some 42 schools in County Donegal are to be connected by the end of 2022. Further details are available on the NBI website at https://nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.