Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Rose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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263. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when persons in Ballygowan, Claremorris, County Mayo can expect to be connected to the broadband network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44590/20]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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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 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 2019 with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).  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. It will offer users a high speed broadband service with a minimum download speed of 500 Mbps from the outset. This represents an increase from the 150 Mbps 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.

Further details are available on specific areas within County Mayo 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 as works commence. I am aware that concerns have been raised regarding the level of information available on the deployment of the NBI network and I am advised that NBI is working to provide more detail on its website, with a rolling update on network build plans.

I am advised by NBI that, as of 11 December 2020, over 149,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed which is ahead of the full year survey target of 120,000 that had been projected by the company. Surveys have been completed in County Mayo in the areas of Aghagower, Ballyhean, Breaghwy, Burren, Castlebar, Clogher, Cloonkeen, Croaghmoyle, Islandeady, Killavally, Manulla, Pontoon, Strade, Tawnynagry, Turlough, Drumsheen, Bunnyconnellan. Ballina Town, Carrowntreila, Ardagh, Campbells Crossroads, Rosserk, Shanvoley, Derryhick, Kilhale, Tawnylaheen, Turlough, Ballyvary, Keeloges, Castlebar Town, Rinnaseer, Bellaburke, Killawullaun Mountain, Carn, Carnacon, Ballyglass, Belcarra, Balla and Ringarraun.  The next step is for NBI to develop network designs to deliver the new fibre to the home network to these premises, followed by pre build and build works.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 14 December, 221 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 Affairs for publicly available sites and by the Department of Education for schools. 59 publicly accessible BCPs across the country are now live. BCPs locations installed in Mayo include Clare Island Community Centre, Belderrig Community and Research Centre, Keel Community Centre and Cushlough Community Centre. Taugheen Community Centre (which is within 8 km of the location of the premises), Killaser Community Centre, Bofeenaun Community Centre and Islandeady Community Centre are installed and connected . Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/. 

Scoil Néifinnin, Co Mayo has been connected for educational access as part of this initiative. My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise other schools with no high speed broadband, within the intervention area for connection over the term of the NBP. In this regard, an acceleration of this aspect of the National Broadband Plan has just  been announced which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026.

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