Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Ceisteanna (99, 100, 101)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

99. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the location of the pilot area used by National Broadband Ireland in establishing the feasibility of using the ESB Networks infrastructure in the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan. [7241/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

100. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the benefits considered by National Broadband Ireland for using the ESB Networks infrastructure to accelerate the national broadband plan. [7242/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Ceist:

101. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the expected timeframe for completion of the pilot exercise using the ESB Networks infrastructure to accelerate the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7243/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of good reliable broadband to ensure that citizens across Ireland can avail of remote working, education and other essential online facilities. The Programme for Government commits to seek to accelerate the roll out of the National Broadband Plan. In this regard, 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.

As part of that work NBI is engaging with all current build partners (eir and enet) to bring forward build activities and is also actively reviewing other possible build partners such as the ESB where such options could also speed up the build process. The engagement with the ESB involved the ESB surveying a single Deployment Area in County Galway, which is one of the 227 Deployment Areas included in the NBP intervention and the development of a detailed design with the aim of establishing the technical and practical feasibility of utilising the ESB network. All possible alternative network providers are being considered and substantial work has been completed to date with further actions scheduled over the coming months. These engagements are a commercial matter for NBI and the relevant service provider in the first instance and it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Exploring the potential to accelerate the network rollout is being undertaken in parallel with the measures required to mitigate delays arising as a result of Covid-19.