Seán Canney TD, Minister for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, today (Friday, 13 December) hosted a meeting of top officials of Local Authorities and senior executives of National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to hear of NBI's plans for the roll-out of high speed broadband across rural Ireland. The company was awarded the contract for the delivery of the NBP in November.
The meeting, which was organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development, was attended by Chief Executives, Directors of Services and Broadband Officers from every Local Authority in Ireland. The attendees heard from senior representatives from NBI, including Chief Executive Peter Hendrick, and TJ Malone, Chief Executive of NBI Deployment.
Speaking at the event in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Minister Canney said:
"The signing of the contract with National Broadband Ireland in November for the delivery of the National Broadband Plan reflects the Government's commitment to providing high-speed broadband to rural Ireland. The NBP will bridge the divide between rural and urban areas, ensuring everyone has equal access to the technology and connectivity they need to succeed in their studies, their careers and in business. The NBP will also support access to a wide range of broadband services which can, for instance, support remote healthcare and address issues around rural isolation and rural crime.
"Local Authorities have a key role to play as National Broadband Ireland gear up to deliver high-speed broadband to more than a half a million premises. That is why I am delighted to have been able to bring NBI and the Local Authorities together today to share information on NBI's plans for the deployment of high-speed broadband and to ensure that Local Authorities are ready when works commence in their local areas.
"The Local Authority Broadband Officers will play a central role in removing barriers to the roll-out of the NBP over the coming years, and will act as a point of contact for members of the public, NBI and elected representatives".
The Minister continued:
Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are the first deliverable under the NBP and approximately 300 locations in remote areas will be provided with a wireless broadband connection within the first 12 months of the NBP roll-out. Early in the New Year, I intend to allocate funding for BCPs to ensure that there are no infrastructural barriers to connecting to the new high-speed broadband network."
Minister Canney added:
"Today is a 'roll your sleeves up' day for those involved in the roll-out of the NBP. We have all gathered here to understand what we can do to support that roll-out and what we can do to make peoples' lives better as quickly as possible through the provision of access to high-speed broadband.
"There are things that we can do to help in the short-term, such as delivering the Broadband Connection Points. But we must also develop a clear plan for what comes after the roll-out. With better connectivity comes the opportunity to reduce the digital divide and drive economic and social progress throughout rural Ireland."
Notes for Editors
National Broadband Plan
The National Broadband Plan is a Government strategy designed to deliver high speed broadband services to all businesses and households in Ireland.
The Government has committed to investing a maximum of €3 billion to deliver the roll out of high speed broadband in areas of the country where commercial deployment is not viable.
The State Intervention area includes:
- 537, 596 premises
- 1.1m citizens (23% of national population)
- 56,000 farms
- 44,000 business
- 695 schools"
Broadband Connection Points
Broadband Connection Points are typically public buildings, such as schools, community centres and sports clubs. Approximately 300 of these locations will be provided with a wireless broadband connection within the first 12 months of the NBP roll-out and will, in turn, make this connectivity available to the public on-site.
BCPs will be established in some of the most remote areas of the country which might otherwise be connected towards the end of the NBP roll-out.
The BCP project is a joint initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
The Department of Rural and Community Development co-funds a Broadband Officer in each Local Authority in the country. Broadband Officers will play a central role in removing barriers to the NBP over the coming years and will act as a point of contact for members of the public, NBI and elected representatives.
Broadband Officer meetings are held on a monthly basis around the country, providing the national network of Local Authority Broadband Officers an opportunity to meet, exchange information and expertise, and be updated on recent developments in relation to telecommunications.