Thursday, 1 February 2018

Ceisteanna (261, 262, 263, 264)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

261. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when fibre broadband will be rolled out at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5122/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

262. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when fibre broadband will be rolled out at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5123/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

263. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when fibre broadband will be rolled out at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5124/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

264. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when fibre broadband will be rolled out at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5125/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 261 to 264, inclusive, together.

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland now have access to high speed broadband.  Within a year that will rise to nearly 8 out of 10 premises and by 2020 9 out of 10 premises or 90% of premises will have access to high speed broadband.

In April I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

The Map is colour coded and searchable by address/eircode:

- The  AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP and are the subject of an ongoing procurement process. 

- The BLUE represent those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services. 

- The Light BLUE areas represent eir's commercial rural deployment plans to roll out high speed broadband to 300,000 premises by the end of 2018 as part of an Agreement signed with me in April.

The table details percentage of premises to be covered by the State Intervention and through commercial investment in the areas identified by the Deputy.

County Name 

Townland

AMBER  Premises within the NBP Intervention Area 

BLUE  Premises within Commercial Operator’s Area

LIGHT BLUE premises planned rural deployment

Cork

Gurteenroe

17% (102)

83% (512)

 

Goranenagappul(Clondrohid)

15% (15)

85% (87)

 

Ryecourt(Cloughduv)

9% (8)

87% (79)

4% (4)

 

Coolmucky(Cloughduv)

45% (38)

55% (47)

One bidder, eir, publicly withdrew from the procurement process on 30 January, citing "commercial, regulatory and governance issues".  While this is regrettable, it is a commercial decision for eir to make.  The procurement process continues with the enet/sse consortium

The specialist NBP procurement team will continue to engage intensively with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the earliest possible achievement of the Government’s objective of providing reliable high quality, high speed broadband to all premises in Ireland.  When the procurement process reaches a satisfactory conclusion for Government, a contract will be awarded and the network roll-out will commence.

The NBP procurement process is supported by a Steering Group and Procurement Board, both of which include highly respected international experts with extensive relevant experience and by a specialist procurement team of over 80 people with comprehensive financial, funding, technical and procurement expertise and experience. With a single bidder focus there are opportunities for reducing the timeline for the procurement process to progress to a conclusion, which is good news for citizens waiting for high speed broadband. 

Delivering high speed broadband to citizens across Ireland remains a firm commitment of mine and this Government. In April 2017, I signed a Commitment Agreement with eir in relation to its plans to provide High speed broadband to 300,000 premises in rural areas on a commercial basis. eir has reconfirmed its committed to completing the roll out by the end of 2018.  Information on eir's planned rural deployment is available at http://fibrerollout.ie/eircode-lookup/. A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie. Quarterly updates on eir's rural deployment are published on this website. Although deployment figures for Q4 2017 have not yet been verified by my Department’s teams, I understand eir has passed over 120,000 of the committed premises to date.

Prior to the roll-out of the NBP State led intervention, practical initiatives continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen.  These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities.  The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure. There is a link to a list of these local Broadband Officers on my Department's website.