Written answers

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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88. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when a community (details supplied) will receive fibre broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11794/21]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The Question refers to premises located in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map which is available on my Department's website 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.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. 

I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that, as of 25 February 2021, over 181,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed. In Co Limerick, surveying has been completed or is underway in the areas of Killalee, Caherline, Ballynanty, Pallaskenny, Toreen, Old Kildimo, Askeaton, Adare, Croagh, Rathkeale, Kilfinny, Croom, Ballingarry, Patrickswell, Crecora, Banogue Cross, Granagh, Lees Cross and Ballykennedy.  Pre-build works have started in townlands outside Limerick City including Mungret, Patrickswell, Crecora, Castleconnell and Caherconlish. Further details are available on specific areas within County Limerick 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 advised that NBI is working to provide more detail on its website, with a rolling update on network build plans. NBI also has a dedicated email address, reps@nbi.ie, which can be used by Oireachtas members for specific queries.

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 25 February, 275 BCP 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 accessible sites and the Department of Education for school BCPs.  A BCP site is installed at Glenmore Community Centre and the site at Caherline Community Centre is installed and connected.  Further details can be found at https://nbi.ie/bcp-locations/. 

Anglesboro National School, Gerald Griffin National School, Knocknadea National School, Limerick East Educate Together National School, Dromdarrig, Mungret and Tinnatarriff National School are  installed by NBI for educational access as part of this initiative.  My Department continues to work with the Department of Education to prioritise 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 was announced in December which will see some 679 primary schools connected to high speed broadband by 2022, well ahead of the original target delivery timeframe of 2026. Further details are available on the NBI website at .

With regard to the matter raised in relation to GSM coverage, providing telecommunication services is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communication Regulation (ComReg), as independent regulator.

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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89. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of households per county not in the intervention area of the national broadband plan who have contacted the Department unable to get high speed broadband from service providers in the area. [11805/21]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The High Speed Broadband Map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie, shows the areas which will be included in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led intervention as well as areas targeted by commercial operators. The map is colour coded and searchable by address and Eircode. The BLUE area represents those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services. My Department defines high speed broadband as a connection with minimum speeds of 30Mbps download and 6Mbps upload. The activities of commercial operators delivering high speed broadband within BLUE areas are not planned or funded by the State and my Department has no statutory authority to intervene in that regard. There may be a choice of operators offering this service in any given area and further information in this regard is available at www.comreg.ie/compare/#/services. ​

My Department receives a high volume of queries on the National Broadband Plan which cover a range of issues including those premises in BLUE areas which are experiencing broadband difficulties. Queries are dealt with on a case by case basis and the specific information sought in the Question is not available.  

Complaints about service provision are a matter between the consumer and the service provider in the first instance. If this avenue has been exhausted without a satisfactory resolution, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) may be able to assist further. ComReg is the independent body that issues licences to broadband service providers and investigates complaints to make sure that companies are delivering services in line with their licence obligations.

In the event that, having exhausted the above options, a premises located in the BLUE area still cannot get high speed broadband from service providers in the area, they should contact my Department at broadband@decc.gov.ie with full details and the matter will be investigated by my officials. The NBP High Speed Broadband Map is dynamic. This means that the intervention area can be updated to reflect new commercial plans, or previous plans that have failed to materialise. This flexibility allows for an increase or decrease in the number of premises included in the State Intervention area.


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