Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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919. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the roll out of the National Broadband Plan in view of ongoing restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5540/20]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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925. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will publish an updated timeline for the delivery of the National Broadband Plan. [5861/20]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 919 and 925 together.

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) contract was signed with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) in November last 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 the nearly 540,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along with 695 schools.

The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 150Mbps from the outset. By the end of next year, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years. The first homes passed will be able to get connected before the end of this year.

Deployment activities related to the National Broadband Plan (NBP) are continuing, in line with the advice provided by Government and the HSE during the Covid-19 event, and key mobilisation and design activities continue to be progressed.

To support remote working and connected communities, approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs) are scheduled to be connected to high speed broadband this year. This will assist communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband, in advance of the main NBP deployment.  The planned BCP locations, including schools, library hubs and local sports are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.broadband.gov.ie.  It should be noted that some BCP locations may be subject to change.

These BCPs will leverage the high speed broadband connection through a range of measures and initiatives, for example providing free public Wi-Fi, some will also have hot-desks, and some will be digital hub business centres where digital training, business information events and other SME supports are organised. The BCP delivery project is well underway and surveying of the BCP locations is progressing, which will facilitate detailed design and installation.

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