Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

National Broadband Plan

Photo of James LawlessJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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29. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the establishment of a network of broadband connection points nationwide; the number that will be provided in each county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43972/20]

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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31. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the establishment of a network of broadband connection points in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43604/20]

James O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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36. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the establishment of a network of broadband connection points in east County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43974/20]

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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40. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the establishment of a network of broadband connection points in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43600/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are among the first deliverables of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and will provide high-speed broadband connectivity to publicly accessible sites in rural and isolated areas of the country, including a number of our off-shore islands. These sites will be provided with a temporary wireless connection by National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company contracted to deliver the NBP. This connection will remain in situ until the sites have been given a permanent connection under the NBP.

As of last Thursday, 10th December 2020, 162 sites had the initial connection established by NBI. Of these, 133 had been passed to Vodafone to install their equipment to provide broadband services to the site. Vodafone had installed their equipment at 113 of these sites up to last Thursday and are continuing with their installations.

In addition to the substantial investment already made in the BCPs, my Department is planning to develop the facilities and services available at these sites. Included in this programme is the use of eHealth technology at BCPs. If successful, this could reduce the need to travel from remote areas to towns and cities for many medical appointments.

My officials are also exploring the use of BCPs as educational settings, as remote working hubs and as locations for the creative arts.

Under Budget 2021, I secured an additional €5 million to enhance remote working capability and remote access for students at BCPs and digital hubs across rural Ireland next year.

The location of all BCPs which have been installed or which are planned across the country is available on NBI's website, www.nbi.ie.

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