I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 29 together. 28 and 29 together. The Questions refers to premises which are 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 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 500Mbps from the outset. This represents an increase from the 150Mbps committed to under the Contract. The deployment plan forecasts premises passed in all counties within the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State having access to high speed broadband within the next four years. As of 27 October, design work is complete or on-going in target townlands across 25 counties and steady progress is being made with over 118,000 premises surveyed to date. This activity is increasing week on week and NBI expects to have completed some 120,000 surveys by the end of the year.Given that the contracted delivery of the National Broadband Plan State led intervention is over a 7 year period and the nature of the works involved in delivering a fibre telecommunications network, it is not possible to provide a detailed timetable on a Townlands basis. NBI provides a facility for any premises within the Intervention Area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website (https://nbi.ie/map/). In Clare, I can advise that surveys have commenced in the areas of Cratloe, Ballycannan, Ballyglas and Cloghrea and further surveys are due to commence in the areas of Kilkishen before the end of this year. This activity involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This is informing design solutions for provision of the fibre network. This detailed design is then used to initiate the ‘make ready’ project with eir for the area, where eir ensure any poles and ducts being reused are fit for purpose. It is also used to initiate works with the subcontractors deploying the actual fibre in the area. The laying of fibre should commence shortly with the first fibre to the home connections expected around December in Cork. Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are a key element of the NBP providing high speed broadband in every county in advance of the roll out of the fibre to the home network. As of 23 October, some 179 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and 59 of theses are now connected with high speed broadband service through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly available sites. In addition, school BCPs will be provided with high speed broadband, for educational use only, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Education and Skills. To date, 6 schools have been connected with high speed broadband for educational access only. It is anticipated that 275 BCP sites will be connected by the end of the year. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.
There are a number of BCPs located across County Clare including at Cree Community Centre, Loop Head and Michael Cusack Visitor Centre. A number of schools including Shragh, Ennistymon and Stonehall National Schools are also now connected. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/.