I propose to take Questions Nos. 2182, 2224 to 2226, inclusive, 2235, 2257 and 2291 together.
The premises referenced by the Deputy, while close to eir's commercial roll out, are all located 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.
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 the Commitment Agreement, signed with my Department, it is not funded by the State and it is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity.
The State intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. 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.
The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close. The finalisation of financial closure and legal requirements are progressing towards contract award. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.
The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.
A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. 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 70,000-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.