Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Ceisteanna (406)

Fiona O'Loughlin


406. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the roll-out of broadband in south County Kildare; and the progress of the national broadband plan. [20670/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

In April 2017 my Department published an updated version of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map. This is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. The 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. The Map is colour-coded and searchable by address/Eircode:

- The AMBER area represents the parts of the country where commercial operators have no plans to build high-speed broadband networks. Premises in the AMBER area will be provided with high-speed Broadband through a State Intervention.

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

- The LIGHT BLUE area represents eir's commercial rural deployment plans to roll out high-speed broadband to 300,000 premises as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

Since December 2015, the number of premises with access to high-speed broadband in South Kildare has increased by 5,274, a 21 percentage point increase. Of the 39,059 premises in South Kildare, 30,867 or 79% now have access to high-speed broadband. Another 300 will be served by eir under that company’s ongoing rural deployment.

The remaining 7,892 premises in South Kildare will receive access to high-speed broadband through the State intervention.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government Decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to Granahan McCourt, subject to the contract close, including the finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

In the first year of roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community-based high-speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

Question No. 407 answered with Question No. 400.