Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport

Business of Joint Committee
Update on National Broadband Plan: National Broadband Ireland

Mr. Peter Hendrick:

I thank Senator Horkan and appreciate his questions. When I think about the intervention area, it is defined not necessarily by geography but by broadband speeds. When the former Minister, Alex White, announced the plan originally it was based on a 30 Mbps threshold. Any premises that had less than 30 Mbps was deemed to be in need of an upgrade to high-speed broadband.

That map, or the amber area as we call it, was completed after consultation, the final part of which took place in September 2019 when the Department asked all the retail and wholesale operators in Ireland what were their plans in terms of delivering high-speed broadband to every area across the country. It received 180 responses to that plan and, ultimately, the outcome of that was all of the premises that are in the intervention area. The challenge is that they are not necessarily all located in one area. They tend to be in every county be that urban, suburban or rural. The challenge for the network is that it needs to cover a large distance in order to service those premises. Equally, we need to make sure that the capacity and future-proofing of the network meet the demand for the next 25, 35 or 40 years. It was as a result of the mapping consultation undertaken by the Department that we ended up having to look at this from a nationwide perspective. It is not simply in one geographical area. I hope that answers the Senator's question.

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