Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ceisteanna (265)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

265. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the operational details of broadband connection points that will be provided within the first 12 months of the national broadband plan roll-out; the role of his Department in this task; the breakdown of points by county and location in tabular form; the allocated current and capital budget for such points; the number of staff that will be employed to achieve this objective in 2020; the number of premises that fall within the area points will service that are forecasted to be covered under the plan by homes, businesses, farms and schools; and the percentage of overall premises to be connected under the plan the 300 points will service, by homes, businesses, farms and schools. [49396/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Broadband Connection Point (BCP) initiative will see high-speed broadband services bought to approximately 300 sites in remote and rural areas across the country, ahead of the arrival of the National Broadband network.

BCPs are typically community centres, schools and sports clubs that will act as access hubs for local people, providing on-site access to the internet.

The Department of Rural and Community Development has worked with Local Authority Broadband Officers to identify the selected sites and is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to establish the BCP network.

The Department's role is to liaise with Local Authorities and to support them as required in this project. The Department will also procure a provider, or providers, for the installation of access infrastructure at the connection points and will provide a subvention to Local Authorities towards the costs of retail services for non-commercial sites and sites with no significant revenue raising activities.

Further details on the BCPs, including the locations of each connection point, are available at https://nbi.ie/broadband-connection-points/.

As the procurement process for infrastructure and retail services has not yet been completed, no capital or current expenditure has been allocated to the project by the Department to date, other than through the annual subvention of €42,000 towards the salaries of the Broadband Officers in each Local Authority. However, the Broadband Officers have a wider remit than the BCP project.

The number of people who will employed in delivering the BCPs arising from the procurement process will be a matter for the successful tenderer(s).

With regard to the coverage of premises within the area of the BCPs, as stated above the BCPs will make internet access available on-site. It is not the objective of the project that they will share or otherwise transmit connectivity to other premises. In any event, the BCP sites have been deliberately selected in remote and sparsely populated areas. Many of these sites are on islands or in areas with widely dispersed and remote homes and businesses.