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National Broadband Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (124)

Brian Stanley


124. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if the National Broadband Plan has missed any of the deadlines set out in the contract agreed with National Broadband Ireland. [29372/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has made steady progress on delivery of the new high speed fibre broadband network under the National Broadband Plan. I am advised by NBI that, as of 27 May 2021, over 220,000 premises across 26 counties have been surveyed. The first fibre to the home connections are successfully connected in Carrigaline, Co Cork and Cavan with almost 4,000 premises passed and available for connection. Build works are continuing across the country in 12 Deployment Areas covering townlands in Carrigaline, Ballinasloe, Cavan, Clare, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary, Tralee, Wexford and Carlow and "make ready" work is underway in a further 15 Deployment Areas.   While substantial progress has been made to date, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the delivery of the fibre network resulting in delays on delivery of aspects of the programme. Impacts include challenges with mobilisation of key contractors with restrictions on operations, supply chain and logistic delays (both nationally and internationally), as well as the recruitment of key personnel as NBI and its contractors scale, up including challenges associated with on-boarding and training people. Inevitably, like many other organisations, NBI and contractor staff are at risk of contracting Covid 19 or may have to restrict their movements as a result of being a close contact posing further challenges. My Department has worked closely with NBI to put in place a remedial plan under the Contract which re-baselines milestone for 2021 to address delays experienced by the NBP rollout, primarily arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Department is working closely with NBI to oversee the implementation of the remedial plan and work is continuing to re-baseline the remaining milestones for the remainder of the programme. In parallel, considerations are ongoing in relation to the potential for acceleration of the rollout.