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National Broadband Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (64)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

64. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the engagement he has had with National Broadband Ireland with regard to the roll-out of high speed fibre broadband in Galway city, county, the Aran Islands and Inisbofin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53506/21]

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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 some 699 schools. My Department as the contracting authority manages all of the elements of contract governance and engages with NBI on an ongoing basis across all elements of the programme to deliver the new high speed broadband network.

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.

Despite the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, National Broadband Ireland has made steady progress on delivery of the new high speed fibre broadband network under the National Broadband Plan with over 272,000 premises surveyed across 26 counties and retail service providers actively selling on the NBI network with over 30,000 premises available to order and pre-order in Counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow as of 30 October.

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that, as of 30 October 2021, over 21,000 premises in the areas of Galway city, Ballinasloe, Gort, Athenry, Loughrea, Inverin, Gurteen, Kilkerrin, Duniry and Lettermore have been surveyed. Build work is complete in areas around Galway and Ballinasloe and I understand that over 5,000 premises are passed and available for connection.

Further details are available on specific areas within County Galway 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. NBI 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. I am advised that BCPs have been connected with high speed broadband on Inis Mor, Inisbofin and Inis Oirr. As of 27 October, 386 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 school BCPs. BCPs are connected in County Galway at Clonbern Community Enterprise Centre (Ballinasloe), Comhar Na nOileán (Inis Oirr), Cortoon Community Centre (Tuam), Glenamaddy Community Development Company, Inisbofin Community Centre, Kilronan Library (Inis Mór), Lettermullen Community Centre and Leitrim Community Centre (Loughrea).

Saint Joseph's National School (Barna), Briarhill National School (Castlegar), Mweenish National School (Carna), St. Mary’s National School (Clonberne), Ballinlass National School (Dunmore), Scoil Naomh Caomháin (Inis Oirr), Ballinakill National School (Kylebrack) and Brownsgrove National School (Tuam) are connected by NBI for educational access. 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.

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