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National Broadband Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (167, 168)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

167. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the number of broadband connection points installed in County Kildare in the past two years to date; the number of installations planned over the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61956/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

168. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which broadband blackspots throughout County Kildare have been identified and remedied over the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61957/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 168 together.

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 554,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along some 679 schools ensuring that no premises is left behind no matter how remote the location.

In July 2019, in order to finalise the mapping exercise required under the State Aid Guidelines on Broadband and to ensure the NBP High Speed Broadband Map was up to date, my Department conducted a consultation in relation to the High Speed Broadband Map. This consultation sought submissions from operators who wished to have their existing high speed broadband networks or plans to invest in high speed broadband networks over the following 7 years to be included on the Department’s High Speed Broadband Map. The Map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan. The High Speed Broadband Map is available at www.broadband.gov.ie and is colour coded and searchable by address and Eircode. The map indicates those premises that are in the AMBER area and will be served by the new high speed broadband network being delivered by NBI on behalf of the State and those in the BLUE area that will be served by commercial operators.

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 282,000 premises surveyed or with survey underway across all counties and almost 150,000 premises with build currently underway or complete. NBI has advised that almost 35,000 premises are available to order and pre-order across 13 counties as of 3 December. I am advised by NBI that, over 7,000 premises in County Kildare have now been surveyed. Surveys are complete in the Deployment Areas of Curragh Camp and Donedea covering areas including Suncroft, Kildare, Pollardstown, Rathbride, Martinstown, Johnstown, Curryhills, Allenwood North, Downings North and Brockagh. I am further advised that over 3,000 premises in County Kildare currently have build underway as part of the Blessington, Carlow and Dunboune/Clonee Deployment Areas.

Further details are available on specific areas within County Kildare 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. Given the scale and complexity of delivery of the new high speed broadband network under the NBP, I am advised that any dates provided by NBI on its website are based on the best available information at the time and may be subject to change.

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 3 December, 424 BCP sites have been installed by NBI across the country 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 locations in each county were selected in conjunction with the Broadband Officer in each Local Authority, in order to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits. There are 3 BCP sites installed and connected in County Kildare at Crookstown Further Education and Training and Community Centre, Lullymore Heritage Park and Bigstone Community Hall. Further details can be found at nbi.ie/bcp-map. I am advised that no further public BCPs are planned for Co Kildare at this time but it is worth noting that Kildare already has a significant number of hubs that fall outside the Intervention Area.

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. Saint David's National School and Rathmore National School in County Kildare were included as part of this initiative and have since been connected. Scoil Náisiúnta Cill Cae, Scoil Náisiúnta Na Cloiche Moire, Killashee National School, Churchtown National School, Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Iopseh, North Kildare Educate Together School, St Anne’s National School and Kilberry National School are due to be connected in the coming months. Further details are available on the NBI website at nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/

Question No. 168 answered with Question No. 167.
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