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Parliamentary Question re Broadband

Parliamentary Question for Reply on 19th May 2015

[Ref No.: 19781/15]

*  To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide an update on the investment in broadband in an area (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Martin Heydon.

Calverstown, Co. Kildare.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 19th May, 2015.

(1047  Received on 13th May, 2015.)

REPLY

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White)

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combination of commercial investments and a State led intervention in areas where commercial services will not be provided.

The commercial telecommunications sector is currently investing approximately €2.5 billion in network upgrades and enhanced services with approximately 1.6 million of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland expected to have access to commercial high speed broadband services over the next two years. These very significant investments represent a step-change in the quality of broadband services available.

Last November I published a national high speed coverage map for 2016. This map is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. The areas marked BLUE represent those areas that will have access to commercial high speed broadband services by end 2016.

The AMBER areas show the target areas for the State intervention and includes Calverstown, County Kildare. All premises within the AMBER areas will be included in the State’s intervention.

More generally I can confirm that next generation broadband services have been rolled out to over 54,000 premises to date in Co Kildare with a further 13,600 expected to be served over the next 18 months. The remaining 20,536 premises in Co Kildare are the target for the proposed State intervention under the National Broadband Plan.

Intensive design and planning work is underway in my Department to produce a detailed intervention strategy for the AMBER area. Following a public consultation process on the draft Intervention Strategy this summer, I hope to move to formal procurement phase towards the end of this year in order to select a preferred bidder or bidders.

I expect the physical build of the network to begin in late 2016, and it will take between three and five years to fully complete – depending on the details of the bid or bids selected.

This complex and ambitious project is a key priority for Government and aims to conclusively address current broadband connectivity issues in mainly rural parts of the country.