New ‘National Broadband Plan’ and map for rural Ireland: Are you covered?

An additional 300,000 premises across Ireland, many of which are in rural areas, will be able to access high-speed broadband within 90 weeks, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, announced today.

These premises were previously part of the State Intervention Area but will now be provided by Eir. The Minister has also updated the Broadband Intervention Map – to add 84,500 premises to the State Intervention Area.

This, says the Department, is as a result of planned commercial investment – which has not materialised.

The broadband ‘map’, which shows premises (i.e. homes and businesses) that will require state intervention, can now be finalised. The three consortia that have been short-listed in the procurement process (to provide high-speed broadband to premises in the intervention area) can now, with some certainty at least, provide tenders.

“Today is a good day for rural Ireland,” Minister Naughten declared. “The agreement that I have signed with Eir means that one house every minute of every working day will get ‘fibre-to-the-door’ high-speed broadband – over the next 90 weeks.

300,000 more rural premises will have access to high-speed quality broadband – that’s an extra 500 houses every day.

“Over the last four years, commercial operators have invested over €2.5 billion upgrading telecoms networks and services. This is a clear indication that the state’s commitment to broadband is driving investment from the commercial sector.

“With the finalisation of the broadband map, one of the key uncertainties in the procurement process has now been removed.

This will allow us to move closer to our goal of ensuring all premises in Ireland will have access to high-speed broadband.

In 2016, only 52% of premises in Ireland had access to high-speed broadband. With this latest development, the Government is promising that 77% of premises will have access by the end of 2018 – and the majority of the remaining premises by the end of 2020.

The revised National Broadband Plan (NBP) intervention map will be available on the Department’s website. People can check to see the status of their premises.

Broadband View interactive map

Ambitious target

The NBP is a Government policy initiative which aims to “deliver high-speed broadband to every citizen and business in Ireland”. The ambition is to achieve 100% coverage across Ireland within 3–5 years of commencement of large-scale rollout – or so says the Department.

This is to be achieved through a combination of measures, including commercial investment by telecoms operators and State intervention to deliver in those parts of the country (State Intervention Area) where the commercial sector will not invest.

To date, the Department says that 1.4 million premises can access high-speed broadband as a result of commercial investment under the NBP.

The Department is currently working on a procurement process, to select commercial providers who will roll out a new network within the State Intervention Area, with the cost to be part-funded by a Government subsidy. European Regional Development Funding will also be used. The Department is currently engaged in a ‘competitive dialogue’ process with three bidders.

What will the map show?

The map that has been published today on the Department’s website shows three categories of areas:

  • Blue shows the areas where commercial operators are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high-speed access;
  • Light blue represents rural locations where Eir is planning to deliver high-speed access by the end of 2018;
  • Amber represents the areas that will require state intervention and are the subject of the current, lengthy procurement process.