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National Broadband Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (165, 185)

Violet-Anne Wynne

Ceist:

165. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the status of the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan. [29467/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

185. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which the provision of broadband is progressing and in such a way as to enhance the competitiveness of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29805/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 185 together.

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract to roll out a high speed and future proofed broadband network within the Intervention Area which covers 1.1 million people living and working in over 544,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along with 695 schools. The Government recognises that the NBP will be a key enabler to many of the policies envisaged in the Programme for Government particularly around increased levels of remote working and remote service delivery and adapting to an evolving economy and competing internationally.

Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, National Broadband Ireland has made steady progress on delivery of the new high speed fibre broadband network under the National Broadband Plan. I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that as at the 27 May over 220,000 premises have been surveyed across all counties.

This survey work has enabled detailed designs to be developed for each deployment area. The detailed designs are then used to initiate the ‘make ready’ project with Open eir, where Open eir ensure any poles and ducts being reused are fit for purpose and the make ready of other required infrastructure. This step also informs decisions on equipment ordering. Survey data is also needed to initiate pre-works which pave the way for the deploying of fibre. Pre-works involve construction of new duct routes, erection of poles, building chambers and tree trimming. On completion of these pre-works, the main construction works can commence.

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 to date. Premises in Galway and Limerick are expected to be available for connection in the coming months. I am advised that 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. In addition, "make ready" work is underway in a further 15 Deployment Areas.

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 27th May, 317 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 for publicly accessible sites and the Department of Education for school BCPs.

My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise 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 announced in December which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026.  Further details are available on the NBI website at nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.

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