I propose to take Questions Nos. 2304 to 2309, inclusive, together.
Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision on 7th May this year to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas.
The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 75% of the 2.4 million premises in Ireland can access high speed broadband.
The High Speed Broadband Map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie, 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 NBP.
The Map is colour coded and searchable by address and Eircode.
The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP.
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 as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with the Department in April 2017 and available on my Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie
The following table outlines the number of premises where access to a high speed broadband connection is, or will be, delivered by commercial operators (BLUE/LIGHT BLUE) and those where access to this vital service will be delivered under the State led intervention (AMBER).
Premises within the NBP State Intervention Area
Premises within Commercial Operator’s Area
Premises within eir's commercial rural deployment
North West Cork
Information on a county by county basis with a breakdown of coverage across the townlands in every county is available on my Department’s website at http://www.dccae.gov.ie/communications/en-ie/Broadband/Pages/County-and-Townland-Maps.aspx.
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 Q1 2019 the company has passed almost 250,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment. According to information provided by eir to my Department, it plans to complete the vast majority of the deployment by the mid-year completion target with the remaining premises to be completed soon afterwards.
The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder subject to contract close and the finalisation of financial and legal requirements; this work is progressing. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after contract close.
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 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.