Written answers

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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149. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the National Broadband Plan in County Mayo; the number of premises connected to date; the target for the end of 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39020/21]

Photo of Ossian SmythOssian Smyth (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party)
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The National Broadband Plan (NBP) State led Intervention will be delivered by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) under a contract to roll out a high speed and future proofed broadband network within the Intervention Area which covers 1.1 million people living and working in the over 544,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along with 695 schools.

There are 84,299 premises in County Mayo of which 47,684 are in the commercial area and 36,615 are within the NBP Intervention Area. I am advised by National Broadband Ireland that, as of 8 July, over 233,000 premises across all counties have been surveyed including 8,281 premises in Co Mayo. Surveys are completed or ongoing 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, Newport, Carrowbeg, Inishgort, Inishcottle, Myna, Fahy, Ashbridge, Glenisland, Srahmore, Glenhest, Comploon, Slogger and Tawnameeltoge.

Build works are currently underway in the Deployment Area that covers Castlebar and surrounding townlands including Turlough, Ballyhean, Clooneen, Kilhale, Tawnylaheen and Burren. I am advised by NBI that it expects some 2,100 premises in these areas to be passed and available for connection by early 2022.

While substantial progress has been made to date, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an impact on the delivery of the fibre network resulting in delays on delivery of aspects of the programme. Impacts include challenges with mobilisation of key contractors with restrictions on operations, supply chain and logistic delays (both nationally and internationally), as well as the recruitment of key personnel as NBI and its contractors scale up, including challenges associated with on-boarding and training people. Inevitably, like many other organisations, NBI and contractor staff are at risk of contracting Covid 19 or may have to restrict their movements as a result of being a close contact posing further challenges. My Department has worked closely with NBI to put in place a remedial plan under the Contract to address the impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic on the project.

Further details are available on specific areas within 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 when works are due to commence.

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 8 July, 335 BCP sites have been installed by NBI and the high speed broadband service will be switched on through service provider contracts managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development for publicly accessible locations and the Department of Education for schools. BCPs installed with high speed publicly accessible broadband include Bofeenaun Community Centre, Killaser Community Centre, Keel Community Centre, Taugheen Community Centre, Kilmovee Community Centre, Finny Community Centre, Islandeady Community Centre, Cushlough Community Centre, Clare Island Community Centre, The Black Tom Freeman Sport And Community Amenities Centre and Belderrig Community & Research Centre.

Midfield National School, Rathnamagh National School, Dooagh National School, Valley National School, Dookinella National School, Scoil Néifinn, Tavraun Central National School, Errew National School, Facefield National School, Gortskehy National School, Kinaffe National School, Meelick More National School, Saint Coleman's National School, Cloghans National School, Shraigh National School and Rathbane National School are also installed 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 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 nbi.ie/primary-schools-list/.


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