Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (527)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

527. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the provision of broadband services to Ballymore, County Westmeath, will cover the townland of Rathskeagh including a property (details supplied). [5083/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Under a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017, eir is in the process of passing 300,000 predominantly rural homes with high speed broadband. According to data for Q3 2018 submitted by eir to my Department the company has passed almost 210,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment. Information on eir's rural deployment is available on that company’s website at

http://fibrerollout.ie/Eircode-lookup/.

A copy of the Commitment Agreement is available on my Department’s website, www.dccae.gov.ie.

The deployment of infrastructure in the village of Ballymore, as referred to by the Deputy, is part of this deployment.

eir’s rural investment in high speed broadband is an entirely commercial undertaking, and not part of the planned State Intervention network. Although the deployment is monitored under the terms of a Commitment Agreement signed between the company and my Department, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity. The selection of what premises are to be served under eir’s deployment is a commercial decision for that company.

The approximately 19 premises in the townlands of Rathskeagh upper and lower, including the one referred to by the Deputy, are in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie.

The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP. This intervention is the subject of an ongoing procurement process. As such, they are not included in eir’s rural fibre deployment.

The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage. My priority is to bring the procurement process to a fair and impartial conclusion as quickly as possible and I will bring a recommendation to Government in this regard in the coming weeks.

For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, 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. 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.