Written answers

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
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507. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the National Broadband Plan; when the roll out will commence in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9661/20]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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The government is committed to delivering high speed broadband to every home, farm, business and school in the country.The High Speed Broadband Map, which is available at ​ www.broadband.gov.ie, shows the areas in Sligo which will be included in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led intervention as well as areas targeted by commercial operators. The Map is colour coded and searchable by address and Eircode.

Premises in the AMBER area of Sligo will be provided with high speed broadband through the State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed in November last with National Broadband Ireland (NBI). The BLUE area represents those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services. The LIGHT BLUE area represents eir's commercial rural deployment plans to rollout high speed broadband to 300,000 premises, including in Sligo, as part of a Commitment Agreement signed with my Department in April 2017.

​County ​AMBER Premises within the NBP State Intervention Area​ ​BLUE Premises within Commercial Operator's Area ​LIGHT BLUE Premises within eir's commercial rural deployment
​Sligo​ ​37%  (14,809) ​63%  (25,143) ​>1%  (187)

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 in the region of 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. My Department continues to engage with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of this rollout.

Further information on deployment activities associated with the rollout can be found on the NBI website

To support remote working and connected communities, approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs) were identified by Local Authorities 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. There are 13 BCP's planned for Co. Sligo. Proposed BCP locations including schools, library hubs, local sports facilities and other public places are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map (www.broadband.gov.ie). The BCP delivery project is well underway and surveying of the BCP locations is progressing which will facilitate detailed design and installation. BCP locations are subject to change and a number of the premises initially identified are in the process of being replaced with alternative locations. The remaining BCPs remain on track for delivery by the end of 2020. 

The BCPs in identified public places 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.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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508. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if high speed broadband will be made available to persons working from home due to Covid-19 restrictions at a location (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9720/20]

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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515. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when residents of an area (details supplied) will be able to avail of efibre broadband. [10086/20]

Photo of Aindrias MoynihanAindrias Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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517. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if high speed broadband can be made available to persons working from home (details supplied) due to Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10096/20]

Photo of Aindrias MoynihanAindrias Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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518. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if high speed broadband can be made available to persons working from home (details supplied) due to Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10097/20]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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520. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a person can anticipate the availability of fibre broadband near their home (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10193/20]

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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524. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if provisions are being put in place for residents of a direct provision centre (details supplied) in County Clare to have access to the internet in their rooms in view of the fact that children of school-going age reside in the centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10410/20]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 508, 515, 517, 518, 520 and 524 together.

The Government is committed to delivering high speed broadband to every home, farm, business and school in the country.

The Questions refer to premises which are located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed in November last with National Broadband Ireland (NBI). 

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 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 in the region of 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. Further details are available at the NBI website www.nbi.ie

To support remote working and connected communities, approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs) were identified by Local Authorities 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, local sports facilities and other public places are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.broadband.gov.ie. The BCP d elivery project is well underway and surveying of the BCP locations is progressing which will facilitate detailed design and installation. BCP locations are subject to change and a number of the premises initially identified are in the process of being replaced with alternative locations. The remaining BCPs remain on track for delivery by the end of 2020. 

The BCPs in identified public places 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. 

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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509. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position in relation to persons whose houses are in the amber area under the national broadband plan; the options they have to obtain high speed broadband and or fibre broadband in a quick period of time; if other providers are free to provide a service in this area; if the company with the National Broadband Plan contract has to be compensated in these situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9760/20]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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The National Broadband Plan (NBP) contract was signed with National Broadband Ireland (NBI) in November 2019, to roll out a high speed and future proofed broadband network for the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises, 100,000 businesses and farms and 695 schools within the Intervention Area. Premises within this intervention area will be served by the network to be deployed by NBI, as within this area commercial operators have advised my Department that they have no plans to deliver high speed broadband service.

There is no prohibition on commercial serving these premises. The Department has engaged extensively with industry since 2013 through multiple public consultations to determine as accurately as possible where commercial operators have existing High speed broadband networks and where they have plans over the next 7 years to deploy high speed broadband networks. The Department's High Speed Broadband Map ( available at broadband.gov.ie) shows the extent ofthe State Intervention area and also the areas targeted for commercial services as notified to the Department through these consultations by industry.

The NBP contract provides a mechanism for National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to apply for compensation for encroachmentin the event that other commercial operators have deployed a future proofed high speed broadband service, of a fibre or equivalent high speed broadband technology,  in advance of NBI's own deployment in the intervention area. This contingent subsidy can only be applied for in specific circumstances and is subject to robust governance mechanisms. The encroachment element of the contingency subsidy is capped at €100m and can only be applied for where the Department determines a commercial deployment of high speed broadband meets the requirements set out in the NBP contract, specifically a deployment of a fibre or equivalent high speed broadband technology, and that this deployment has had a negative impact on NBI's business case.  The consultation on the NBP map that was carried out in the second half of 2019 in advance of contract award, which established industry’s up to date infrastructure and future plans, has significantly reduced the likelihood of the encroachment element of the contingency subsidy being sought.

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