Tuesday, 10 November 2020
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
212. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when high speed broadband will be provided at a location (details supplied) in County Louth; when the locality and infrastructure will be surveyed as part of the national fibre network roll-out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34776/20]
221. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the national broadband plan primarily the design phase for the fibre network in County Louth; the locations surveyed; and the percentage of area surveyed. [35186/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 and 221 together.One of the Questions refers to a specific 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 4 November almost 122,000 premises across 25 counties have been surveyed by NBI which is ahead of the full year survey target of 120,000 that had been projected by the company.
In Louth, there are 8,344 premises in the Intervention Area and of these 6,943 have been surveyed, representing 83% of the total. Surveys have taken place in areas around Dundalk and Drogheda. 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 first fibre to the home connections are expected next month in Carrigaline, Co Cork and they will be subject to technical testing and validation prior to a wider release of the area. I am advised that from the end of January retailers will be able to resell the service and householders in these areas will be able to order high speed broadband provided via the NBI network.
Further details are available on specific areas within Co Louth through the NBI website which provides a facility for any premises within the intervention area to register their interest in being provided with deployment updates through its website www.nbi.ie. Individuals who register with this facility will receive regular updates on progress by NBI on delivering the network and specific updates related to their own premises when works are due to commence.
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 30 October, 187 sites have been installed by NBI and the high speed broadband service will be switched on in these locations through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly available sites and by the Department of Education and Skills for schools. 59 publically accessible BCPs across the country are now live with a number of these in Co Louth at Mattock Rangers GAA Club, Clogherhead Pier, Killanny GAA Club, Annaghminnan Rovers GAA Club, Port Beach Knockbawn and Templetown Beach. Further details can be found at .
In addition, Walshestown National School and Saint Enda's National School in Louth will also be connected for educational access 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.