Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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17. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the engagement she has had on the national broadband plan in the last quarter. [43979/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications has overall policy responsibility for the National Broadband Plan. However, my Department contributes to the delivery of the NBP in two important areas: the roll out of Broadband Connection Points and support for the national network of Local Authority Broadband Officers.

Broadband Connection Points are among the first deliverables of the National Broadband Plan and will provide high-speed broadband connectivity at publicly accessible sites in rural and isolated areas of the country, including a number of our off-shore islands.

The target is to have 300 publicly accessible BCPs operational in the first quarter of next year. In addition to the investment already made in the BCPs, my Department is planning to develop the facilities and services available at the sites. Many of them will provide remote working facilities which will be important to support those working from rural areas.

The Broadband Officers are the single point of contact in each Local Authority for matters concerning telecoms deployments. These officers engage closely with both National Broadband Ireland, the company contracted to deliver the NBP, and with officials from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

My Department supports the Broadband Officers with an annual subvention to the Local Authorities of €42,000 towards each of their salary costs. My Department also convenes up to ten Broadband Officer network meetings each year. These meetings provide an opportunity for direct contact between Government officials, telecoms operators and Broadband Officers.


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