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Broadband Infrastructure

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (189)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

189. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the current status of plans to fast-track the National Broadband Plan; the impact this will have on Ireland's carbon emissions profile; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53974/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Despite the unprecedented 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 with over 272,000 premises surveyed across 26 counties and retail service providers actively selling on the NBI network with over 30,000 premises available to order and pre-order in Counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow as of 30 October.

My Department continues to engage with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of the NBP 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. However, the primary focus must be on addressing the delays which have arisen and ensuring that the National Broadband Ireland build programme gets back on track and is building momentum month on month.

The National Broadband Plan has been designed to ensure that as much as possible of the network infrastructure will comprise the re-use of existing poles and ducts which NBI will lease from existing infrastructure owners. Infrastructure re-use in this manner ensures the State complies with State Aid Guidelines and environmental sustainability best practice.

Deployment of the NBP has the potential to deliver a range of environmental benefits linked to Government policy and cloud services as well as reduced emissions from homeworking and business travel. The Cost Benefit Analysis behind the business case for the Government decision to proceed with the NBP highlighted environmental benefits among a variety of other economic and social benefits. It did not, however, set out to specifically forecast the impact of the NBP on emissions. My Department will be looking at this in more detail when we start to assess the benefits that are being delivered on foot of delivery of the NBP.

Question No. 190 answered with Question No. 188.
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