Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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57. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the engagement he has had with National Broadband Ireland with regard to the roll-out of high speed fibre broadband in County Cork, including the off-shore islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59396/21]

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 554,000 premises, including almost 100,000 businesses and farms along some 699 schools. My Department as the contracting authority manages all of the elements of contract governance and engages with NBI on an ongoing basis across all elements of the programme to deliver the new high speed broadband network. 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. 

Despite the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, National Broadband Ireland has made steady progress on delivery of the new high speed fibre broadband network under the National Broadband Plan with over 277,000 premises surveyed across 26 counties and retail service providers actively selling on the NBI network with over 30,000 premises available to order and pre-order in Counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Louth, Monaghan, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wicklow.  In County Cork surveys are complete in the Deployment Areas of Carrigaline, Midleton, Youghal, Templemartin and Tallow. Main build works are currently underway in Midleton and Youghal and are complete in Carrigaline. There are over 4,500 premises in County Cork available for order/pre-order.

Further details are available on specific areas within County Cork and offshore islands 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. NBI 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 19 November, 393 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. I am advised that in County Cork BCPs have been connected with high speed broadband on Bere Island, Cléire Island and Sherkin Island. BCP’s are installed at Ballydaly Community Hall, Aubane Community Centre, Mealagh Valley Community Centre, Courtbrack Community Centre, Laharn Heritage Centre, Ballindangan Community Centre, Clogagh Community Hall, Aghabullogue Community Centre, Castletownkenneigh Community Centre, The Old Schoolhouse, Bere Island Heritage Centre, Coláiste Phobal Cléire, Lissavard Community Centre, Whitechurch Community Centre, Glash Community Centre, T.O. Park Labbamollaga and Sherkin Island Community Hall.

Templebrady National School, Ballycroneen National School, Clogagh National School, Educate Together Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy Lower Harbour National School, Scoil Naomh Fionan Na Reanna, Ballygarvan National School and Shanbally National School have been installed by NBI for educational access for educational access. 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 late last year 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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