Thomas Pringle TD

PQ on Broadband – Why some people in Donegal miss out on broadband connection by mere meters

broadband

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For Written Answer on : 10/10/2017

Question Number(s): 521 Question Reference(s): 42730/17

Department: Communications, Climate Action and Environment

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QUESTION

 

[Ref No.: 42730/17]

*  To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the frustration for many households in County Donegal that end up on the national broadband plan despite the fact that their home or premises is located across the street from commercial rollout routes; when broadband will be rolled out to an area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Thomas Pringle.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 10th October, 2017.

(772  Received on 3rd October, 2017.)

 

REPLY

 

The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) will ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that to date approximately 1.5m or 65% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland can get high speed broadband and this footprint is expanding.

In April I published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie.   This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area. The Map is searchable by eircode by individuals seeking information.

  • The BLUE areas on the Map represent those areas where commercial telecommunications providers are either currently delivering, or have indicated plans to deliver high speed broadband services,
  • The AMBER areas on the Map represent the areas that will require State Intervention and are the subject of a procurement process.

The eircode referenced is within the AMBER area and will be covered by the State intervention under the NBP.

The map shows that there are over 101,000 premises in County Donegal, about 68,000 of which fall within a BLUE area of the Map and will be covered by commercial operators.  Just over 16,500 of these 68,000 premises form part of eir’s planned rural deployment to deliver rural high speed broadband between now and the end of 2018.  The remaining 33,000 premises in County Donegal fall within an AMBER area and will be part of the State led Intervention under the National Broadband Plan. With regard to the eir fibre to the home rollout close to the referenced premises, the decision as to what areas and premises are served is a matter for eir and not one in which I have a role.

 

With regard to the State Intervention, my Department is engaged in an on-going procurement process to select a company or companies who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network for the State led intervention. A significant milestone in that procurement process was reached in September with the submission of “Detailed Solutions” by two bidders.  This is the last stage of the procurement process before receipt of final tenders and ultimate progression to the appointment of a preferred bidder(s).

To improve both mobile and broadband services in rural Ireland in advance of the rollout of the high speed broadband network to be built in the State intervention area, I established, in July 2016, a Taskforce to identify solutions which can be implemented in the short, medium and long term to alleviate mobile phone and broadband coverage deficits, to identify priority areas for rollout and investigate how better services could be provided to consumers. These solutions will enhance the existing services prior to the full build and rollout of the network planned under the NBP State led intervention.

Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen.  These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities.  The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency  in engagements with operators and clearing obstacles to developing infrastructure.  There is a link to a list of these local Broadband Officers on my Department’s website.

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