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05 Jul 2022

National Broadband Plan delays must be minimised says Louth TD

National Broadband Plan delays must be minimised says Louth TD

Pressure needs to continue to be applied to ensure that Covid delays to the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan are minimised, Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú has told Communications Minister Eamon Ryan.

The Dundalk TD asked Minister Ryan last week for an update on the National Broadband Plan and said: ‘People really require delivery on Internet connectivity and the pressure is on us to ensure it is delivered’.

Deputy Ó Murchú also said he wanted to see ‘real co-ordination’ between Eir and NBI.

Minister Ryan said: ‘I am advised by NBI that as of 20 May 2022, over 327,600 premises have now been surveyed, more than 298,600 premises are designed or in design process, and more than 175,300 premises are under construction or complete, demonstrating that the project is reaching scale. 

‘Almost 67,700 premises are now available to order or pre-order a high-speed broadband connection across 23 counties, with over 56,600 premises passed across 22 counties and available for immediate connection.

‘The 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. 

‘The revised target is 102,000 premises passed by the end of January next year. NBI is implementing a number of measures to help lessen the impact that delays have had on the roll-out. 

‘The focus will continue to be on ensuring the National Broadband Ireland build programme is back on track and is gaining momentum month on month’.

Minister Ryan also gave updated figures for Louth. He said: ‘As of 29 April last, more than 7,800 premises had been surveyed in the county with over 4,000 premises under construction or complete, almost 3,200 premises available to order or pre-order, and almost 2,500 premises passed and available for immediate connection. 

'I would agree with the Deputy's closing comment about the need for real co-ordination between Eir and NBI. It is critical to the success and acceleration of this project. 

‘I had a meeting with the chief executive and chairman of Eir recently. We made the case, and they readily agreed, that the flexible fast operation between their contractors and National Broadband Ireland and the dovetailing between those two organisations to get poles up, to get ducts cleared and to get the process really moving fast will be key’.

Deputy Ó Murchú said he had been in touch with NBI. He said they are looking ‘for what it terms "a self-install product" which would give it a greater capacity in relation to delivering on part of the build’.

He said: ‘I am merely looking for an update on where that conversation is, on whether we can deliver the self-install product, on whether Eir will increase its capacity and on where we are on putting it on a contractual basis to ensure that we get delivery in six years. 

‘Where people have been delivered fibre, it is absolutely brilliant. It is about all those who are not connected.

‘I also welcome the fact ComReg is working on offering people alternatives in their areas if they will be waiting another four or five years’.

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