Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ceisteanna (69)

John Lahart

Ceist:

69. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the roll-out of broadband to areas in the south west of County Dublin that are currently lacking in broadband (details supplied); if the matter will be addressed in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7268/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

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. Today 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband.  By the end of this year that number 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 a high speed broadband connection.

In April 2017 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 rollout high speed broadband to 300,000 premises by the end of this year as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with me last April.

There are approximately 58,000 premises in the constituency of Dublin South-West. Nearly 600 (1%) fall within the AMBER area and will be covered under the State led Intervention. More than 57,500 (98%) of premises are in a BLUE area and are or will be covered by commercial providers. Less than 1% of premises in Dublin South-West are LIGHT BLUE.

My Department is in a formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area. The specialist NBP procurement team will continue to engage intensively with all relevant stakeholders, including the sse/enet consortium, 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 rollout will commence.

I recognise the importance of availability of high speed connectivity for all premises in Ireland and fully appreciate the frustration felt by people, such as those in Dublin South-West, who do not currently have access to this level of connectivity.  The vital broadband connections these people need to live, work and learn will be delivered by the National broadband Plan.

In the interim, practical initiatives will 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 which is available at http://www.ruralireland.ie/policies/national-broadband-plan/.