Environment, Climate and Communications | Country-wide broadband network roll-out plans
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which the provision of broadband on a country-wide basis is proceeding according to plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the degree to which broadband provision is proceeding evenly throughout the country in respect of both primary and secondary areas; the extent to which the two are merging or are likely to so do in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the number of locations throughout the country where broadband roll-out is not up to expectation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which he and his Department are endeavouring to meet the demands in so far as is possible in relation to the provision of broadband on a nationwide basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The High Speed Broadband Map, which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie, indicates the areas which are 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. Premises in the AMBER area will be provided with high speed broadband through the state led intervention, the contract for which was signed in November 2019 with National Broadband Ireland (NBI). The BLUE area represents those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering, or have plans to deliver, high speed broadband services.
I am advised by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) that, as of 28 October 2022, over 97,000 premises can order or pre-order a high-speed broadband connection across 25 counties, with over 87,700 premises passed across 25 counties and available for immediate connection. Construction is underway across 26 counties demonstrating that the project is reaching scale. To date, the level of connections is increasing on a daily basis and is in line with projections, with some areas exceeding expectations.
Further details are available on specific areas 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, email@example.com, which can be used by Oireachtas members for specific queries.
NBI has made recent improvements to their website to enhance the provision of information to Oireachtas members. NBI has now completed a suite of changes, creating a portal that will serve as a means for Oireachtas members to proactively search for information relevant to their county/local area. The portal provides an up-to-date picture of NBI’s deployment schedule across the 227 Deployment Areas (DAs) in all 26 counties. A particular county can be selected to view an update of the overall number of premises in the Intervention Area, the overall NBP investment in the county, the number of premises passed and connected to date and the status of each of the Deployment Areas with the anticipated date for connection over the lifetime of the project. The dedicated webpage can be accessed here: www.nbi.ie.
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. Some 778 BCP sites have been installed by NBI to date 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.
My Department has worked with NBI to agree an Updated Interim Remedial Plan (UIRP) which recalibrated the targets for 2022 to take account of the knock on effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and other delays to the programme. The revised target is 102,000 premises passed by the end of January 2023 (cumulative) which is expected to be achieved ahead of that date.
The network rollout for the NBP is divided into 227 Deployment Areas (DAs) across the country. These are typically an area of approximately 25km in radius and in total they cover 96% of Ireland’s landmass. The architecture of the network design is specifically based on the design of the NBI network coming from the Eir exchanges or the metropolitan area networks (MANs). It is based on an engineering design that allows NBI to reach every premises as quickly as possible working within the confines of how fibre networks are built. Villages/Townlands/Counties can be covered by a number of DAs which means there are differing timescales for the rollout across county areas.
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