Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

96. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date on which high-speed broadband will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30716/20]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Question refers to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at .

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). The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 500Mbps from the outset. This represents an increase from the 150Mbps committed to under the Contract.

The deployment plan forecasts premises passed in all counties within the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State having access to high speed broadband within the next four years. As of 13 October, design work is complete or on-going in target townlands across 24 counties and steady progress is being made with over 103,000 premises surveyed to date. This activity is increasing week on week and NBI expects to have completed some 120,000 surveys by the end of the year. In County Kildare, surveys have been completed in areas including Naas, Johnstown and Kill.

This activity involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This is informing design solutions for provision of the fibre network. This detailed design is then used to initiate the ‘make ready’ project with eir for the area, where eir ensure any poles and ducts being reused are fit for purpose. It is also used to initiate works with the subcontractors deploying the actual fibre in the area. The laying of fibre should commence shortly with the first fibre to the home connections expected around December this year in Cork. NBI provides a facility for any premises within the AMBER area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website ().

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 13 October 2020, some 164 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and 56 of these are now connected with high speed publicly accessible broadband, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development. It is anticipated that 275 BCP sites will be connected by the end of the year. Further details can be found at .

BCPs locations due for installation in Kildare include Backgate Lodge, Kilkee Demesne, Castledermot and Crookstown Further Education and Training Centre. BCPs installed and waiting connectivity include Lullymore Heritage Park and Bigstone Community Hall.

In addition some schools will be provided with high speed broadband through the BCP Programme, for educational use only, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Education and Skills. A number of schools in Kildare including Saint David’s National School and Rathmore National School will be connected to high speed broadband as part of the BCP initiative. My Department will work with Department of Education and Skills to prioritise the remaining schools to be connected over the term of the NBP.

While substantial progress has been made to date, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the delivery of the fibre network. The extent of this impact is currently being assessed and NBI has committed to put in place measures to mitigate the impact in as far as possible. The Covid 19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of good reliable broadband to ensure that citizens across Ireland can avail of remote working, education and other essential online facilities. This is reflected in the commitments in the Programme for Government where delivery of the National Broadband Plan will be a key enabler to many of the policies envisaged particularly around increased levels of remote working. The Programme for Government has committed to seek to accelerate the roll out of the National Broadband Plan. In this regard, my Department continues to engage with NBI to explore the feasibility of accelerating aspects of this 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.

Exploring the potential to accelerate the network rollout is being undertaken in parallel with the measures required to mitigate delays arising as a result of Covid-19.

Photo of Pádraig O'SullivanPádraig O'Sullivan (Cork North Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

97. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the options available to a person (details supplied) whose Internet provider is providing an inadequate service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30753/20]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Question refers to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website at .

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). The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 500Mbps from the outset. This represents an increase from the 150Mbps committed to under the Contract.

The deployment plan forecasts premises passed in all counties within the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State having access to high speed broadband within the next four years. As of 13 October, design work is complete or on-going in target townlands across 24 counties and steady progress is being made with over 103,000 premises surveyed to date. This activity is increasing week on week and NBI expects to have completed some 120,000 surveys by the end of the year.

This activity involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This is informing design solutions for provision of the fibre network. This detailed design is then used to initiate the ‘make ready’ project with eir for the area, where eir ensure any poles and ducts being reused are fit for purpose. It is also used to initiate works with the subcontractors deploying the actual fibre in the area. The laying of fibre should commence shortly with the first fibre to the home connections expected around December this year. NBI provides a facility for any premises within the AMBER area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website ().

In Cork, surveys have been completed in the areas of Carrigaline and Midleton. NBI crews have started initial works for the build of the fibre network in the Carrigaline area, including Cullen, Templebreedy, Carrigaline, Ballyfolye, Douglas, Ballyphehane, Glasheen, Mahon, and Kilpatrick. Laying of fibre should start shortly with the first fibre to home connection expected around December in Carrigaline.

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. Some 164 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and 56 of these are now connected with high speed publicly accessible broadband, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development. It is anticipated that 275 BCP sites will be connected by the end of the year., including 74 schools. Further details can be found at .

BCPs connected in County Cork include community centres at Whitechurch, Aghabullogue, Ballindangan, Castletownkenneigh and Lissvard with other locations at Aubanem, Courtbrack, Mealagh Valley, Glash and Sherkin and Bere Islands to be connected with high speed broadband in the coming months.

In addition some school BCPs will be provided with high speed broadband, for educational use only, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Education and Skills. As of 13 October 2020, NBI have installed equipment in 43 schools which will be connected with WIFI by retail service providers in the coming months. A number of schools including Clogagh and Ballycroneen National School will be connected to high speed broadband as part of the BCP initiative. My Department will work with Department of Education and Skills to prioritise the remaining schools to be connected over the term of the NBP.

I understand that there can be instances where premises remain unconnected, although close to premises that are passed by eir’s fibre network. Eir’s rural deployment of high speed broadband is a commercial undertaking and, as such, decisions regarding the areas and premises served are made by eir. My Department has no role in the matter and has no statutory authority to intervene in decisions of commercial operators as to where they build infrastructure and provide services. Throughout rural Ireland, eir’s fibre deployment is primarily focussed on towns and villages and the premises on their outskirts. Where that network ends is where the National Broadband Plan in effect commences to ensure that nobody is left behind.

I appreciate people's frustration when they are living so close to a fibre network but cannot get a connection to that network, particularly given the heightened importance of connectivity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The NBP will ensure that in all such cases a future proofed high speed broadband network will be built to serve these premises and work to deliver on this is underway.

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

98. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date on which the home of a person (details supplied) will be connected to high-speed broadband under the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30775/20]

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

99. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will address matters raised in correspondence (details supplied) in relation to broadband issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30794/20]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 99 together.

The Questions refer to a  premises which is located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (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). The NBP network will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 500Mbps from the outset. This represents an increase from the 150Mbps committed to under the Contract.

The deployment plan forecasts premises passed in all counties within the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State having access to high speed broadband within the next four years. As of 13 October, design work is complete or on-going in target townlands across 24 counties and steady progress is being made with over 103,000 premises surveyed to date. This activity is increasing week on week and NBI expects to have completed some 120,000 surveys by the end of the year. In County Louth, surveys have been completed in the areas of Dundalk, Drogheda and surrounding townlands.

This activity involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This is informing design solutions for provision of the fibre network. This detailed design is then used to initiate the ‘make ready’ project with eir for the area, where eir ensure any poles and ducts being reused are fit for purpose. It is also used to initiate works with the subcontractors deploying the actual fibre in the area. The laying of fibre should commence shortly with the first fibre to the home connections expected around December this year.

NBI provides a facility for any premises within the AMBER area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website ().

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 13 October 2020, some 164 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and 56 of these are now connected with high speed publicly accessible broadband, through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development. It is anticipated that 275 BCP sites will be connected by the end of the year. Further details can be found at .

BCPs connected in County Louth include Mattock Rangers GAA Club, Clogherhead Pier, Port Beach, Templetown Beach and Annaghminnam Rovers GAA Club while Stephenstown, Knockattin is awaiting connectivity.

In addition some schools will be provided with high speed broadband through the BCP Programme, for educational use only. A number of schools including Walshestown National School and Saint Enda's National School have now been installed by NBI and will be connected to high speed broadband through a service provider contract managed by the Department of Education and Skills.My Department will continue to work with Department of Education and Skills to prioritise the remaining schools to be connected over the term of the NBP.

I understand that there can be instances where premises remain unconnected, although close to premises that are passed by eir’s fibre network. Eir’s rural deployment of high speed broadband is a commercial undertaking and, as such, decisions regarding the areas and premises served are made by eir. My Department has no role in the matter and has no statutory authority to intervene in decisions of commercial operators as to where they build infrastructure and provide services. Throughout rural Ireland, eir’s fibre deployment is primarily focussed on towns and villages and the premises on their outskirts. Where that network ends is where the National Broadband Plan in effect commences to ensure that nobody is left behind.

I appreciate people's frustration when they are living so close to a fibre network but cannot get a connection to that network, particularly given the heightened importance of connectivity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The NBP will ensure that in all such cases a future proofed high speed broadband network will be built to serve these premises and work to deliver on this is underway.In April 2020, all major telecommunications providers committed to a number of measures to help people stay in touch and work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, a number of operators have implemented further supports for consumers, such as for students in  education, who require a high data usage package, by increasing data limits on many existing packages and by the introduction of new packages with very high, or unlimited data offerings. The market for mobile packages with very high, or unlimited data offerings, is becoming increasingly competitive and this is positive for all consumers.

Comments

No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.