I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 and 129 together.
The Questions refer to premises which are located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed in November last with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).
The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 150Mbps from the outset. By the end of next year, NBI plans to pass in the region of 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years. The Government is committed to delivering high speed broadband to every home, farm, business and school in Ireland and my Department continues to engage with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of this rollout to establish the possibility of bringing forward premises which are currently scheduled in years 6 and 7 of the current plan to an earlier date. Further information on deployment activities associated with the rollout can be found on the NBI website http://www.nbi.ie.
To support remote working and connected communities, approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs) were identified by Local Authorities to be connected to high speed broadband this year. This will assist communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband in advance of the main deployment under the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The planned BCP locations, including schools, library hubs, local sports facilities and other public places are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.broadband.gov.ie.
The BCP delivery project is well underway and connectivity is being provided to each of the sites by National Broadband Ireland (NBI). Subsequent to this, the sites, other than schools, are being Wi-Fi enabled by Vodafone under a contract with the Department of Rural and Community Development. This work also involves the local authorities and site owners determining the services that will be provided for end-users at each site. For the 75 schools that are also part of this project, enabling these schools with Wi-Fi is being led by the Department of Education subsequent to NBI providing the connectivity to the schools.
Bringing connectivity to remote rural locations is central to promoting regional development and BCPs represent an important delivery in the early stages of the National Broadband Plan.