Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (500, 501, 512, 513)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

500. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the provision of broadband for homes in the dark blue area of the national broadband plan map was discussed in the context of a new investment in fixed-line broadband made by a company (details supplied); if commitments were made to ensure availability to all homes in the dark blue area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7711/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

501. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the engagement he has had with a company (details supplied) regarding its announcement of an extra 80,000 homes and businesses to be covered with broadband; and the way in which this will impact the roll-out of the national broadband plan. [7713/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

512. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of premises contained within the intervention area for the national broadband plan; if changes are proposed in the intervention area in view of a recent announcement by a company (details supplied); the changes that will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

513. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the removal of 80,000 to 100,000 premises from the intervention area of the national broadband plan will delay the completion of the tendering process; if so, the estimated delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7786/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 500, 501, 512 and 513 together.

The recent announcements of further commercial investment in high speed broadband infrastructure by telecommunications companies are to be welcomed. Continued commercial investment in tandem with the proposed State led NBP intervention remains vital to ensuring that all premises in Ireland have access to a reliable and future proofed high speed broadband service. I note that in addition to the announcements of planned future investments, there has also been some additional public commentary by commercial operators as to the possible reach of the planned new infrastructure.

My Department monitors the actual deployment of broadband infrastructure by commercial operators across the country and will continue to do so. While I have not had direct engagement with eir in relation to its recent announcement, or subsequent further commentary, my Department has written to the company to arrange a meeting regarding its plans.

In order for premises to be removed from the State intervention area, a commercial operator must make a submission to my Department outlining its plans and commitments to provide these premises with a high speed broadband service. This is consistent with the State aid rules applying to State interventions to ensure the availability of high speed broadband services. Any such submission must satisfy the criteria set down by my Department in the mapping process that was set out in 2015 on my Department’s website, before the NBP procurement process commenced. Details are available at this link https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/Managing%20IA%20Map%20-%20Consultation%20Paper%20FINAL%2021-12-15.pdf ).

While eir has not submitted a plan to my Department in relation to its recent announcement, monitoring of commercial plans is an ongoing part of the NBP and proceeds in parallel with the procurement process. The NBP High Speed Broadband Map is dynamic. This means that either during the procurement, or following award of an NBP contract, the intervention area can be updated to reflect new commercial plans, or previous plans that have failed to materialise. This flexibility allows for an increase or decrease in the number of premises included in the State Intervention area.

The State Intervention area for the NBP procurement process contains approximately 540,000 premises. This remains as set out on my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie.

The NBP procurement process is in its final stage and I intend to make a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.