Tuesday, 1 June 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
National Broadband Plan
170. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his engagements with local authorities in relation to the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan specifically in relation to pole infrastructure and road opening licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23058/21]
The Deputy will be aware that the rollout for the National Broadband Plan is now well underway. National Broadband Ireland (NBI) is now active across all counties. The work starts with surveys of premises within the Intervention Area. From this, detailed designs are then drawn up and thereafter the necessary build work can commence. Once NBI have settled on designs on how the network will be built in a particular area, these plans are submitted to the relevant local authority in order to obtain the necessary licences or permissions that may apply, for example with respect to road opening, or Section 254 licences which apply to certain developments exempt from planning. Given the scale of the NBP rollout there is significant engagement by NBI with all the local authorities. With this in mind a number of stakeholders collaborated recently to publish a Guidance document on the Process of Engagement between NBI and the Local Authorities on the Application for Section 254 Licences. Last month Minister Ryan addressed a webinar for representatives of all local authorities to launch the guidance document. Speaking at the webinar, Minister Ryan stressed the importance of effective and timely consent processes to ensure that the NBP network is deployed as early as possible to support individuals and businesses in rural Ireland and commended the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), the County & City Management Association (CCMA), the Road Management Office (RMO) and NBI for their collaboration in developing the guidance document.