Thursday, 17 December 2020

Ceisteanna (245)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

245. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he is considering plans to extend the broadband connection points programme to additional primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44576/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

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 14 December, 221  publicly accessible BCP sites have been installed by NBI and the high speed broadband service will be switched on in these locations through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Education for schools. Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/. The schools BCP initiative applies to primary schools in the intervention area. The intervention area was determined following a mapping exercise to identify as far as reasonably possible those areas where State intervention is required to ensure high speed broadband is available.

Some 70 schools across the country in the Intervention Area will become Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) by the end of Q1 2021, receiving 150mb high-speed connectivity for educational access. My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise other schools with no high speed broadband, within the intervention area, for connection over the term of the NBP. In this regard, an acceleration of this aspect of the National Broadband Plan was recently announced which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by the end of  2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026. The connections to high speed broadband will be a mixture of BCP technology and fibre to the premises, depending on the wider deployment plan with the quickest method being utilised. Under the originally-planned rollout, some schools would have had to wait up to seven years for connection - now, all schools will be connected within two years. Further details are available on the NBI website at https://nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.