Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Ceisteanna (195)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

195. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason a property at Hopestown, Ballinea, Mullingar, County Westmeath cannot connect to efibre broadband (details supplied). [46754/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The premises referenced by the Deputy is 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.

The State intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network.

Since the Government decision in May 2019 to appoint NBI as the Preferred Bidder for the National Broadband Plan contract, work has continued on the due diligence necessary to conclude the contract. This process is progressing towards contract award, which is expected before the end of the year. The network deployment will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the network rollout 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 by the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

My Department has recently undertaken a mapping consultation to ensure that the State Intervention Area is up to date and reflects operators’ plans and the responses from householders and businesses with the outcome of this consultation informing the State Aid notification to the European Commission in relation to the NBP.

In parallel to the work of finalising the contract, I am considering the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Communications Committee report, which was published recently. I will bring my deliberations of the report to Government in due course.

With regard to the eir fibre rollout close to this premises, eir’s rural deployment of high speed broadband is a commercial undertaking and is not part of the planned State Intervention network.

It is not funded by the State and is not planned, designed or directed by my Department in any capacity. The decision as to what areas and premises are served was made by eir internally and on a commercial basis. My Department has no statutory authority to intervene in that process.