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National Broadband Plan

Overview

 

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a Government initiative to deliver high-speed broadband (HSB) to every premises in the country. The plan aims to rollout a fibre to the premises (FTTP) network right across the country capable of delivering speeds upwards of 30mb download and 6mb upload.

The NBP procurement process is currently at an advanced stage with a contract expected to be signed with a winning bidder by the end of summer 2017. Once this contract is in place rollout of the plan will commence.

The network will be constructed from fibre, “Fibre is recognised internationally as future proofed, resilient, reliable and able to carry unlimited data. The closer the end user is to the fibre network, the better the service they will get. Placing fibre at the core of this strategy means that a solution will be delivered that will meet the needs not just for today’s generation but for generations to come.”

The plan is very ambitious and has been compared on scale with the Rural Electrification project of the 1940’s.  Government has assigned the NBP a top priority status because it will give Ireland a competitive advantage in the modern digital era and serve to bridge the digital divide that has emerged between rural and urban areas.

Two government departments are involved in the project; Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, who are responsible for the procurement and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs, who are responsible for the rollout of the NBP.

Under the NBP each premise will fall under one of two designations, blue or amber. Any premise in the blue area will have HSB provided by the commercial sector. If a premises is located in the amber area, then the NBP will be providing the service. The amber area is known as the intervention area.  The DCCAE has published a high speed broadband map of the country where the status of every premises can be checked by entering an Eircode or zooming in on a premises. This map is constantly under review by the DCCAE.

Local Authority Role

The scale of the task in Mayo is not to be underestimated with over 60% of Mayo Premises located in the intervention area. Preparatory work is ongoing in the council to ensure a smooth and speedy rollout of this important infrastructure project. Committees are being established from across the various disciplines of the council to ensure that Mayo is prepared for the rollout.

The implementation of Mayo County Council’s Digital Strategy will also drive awareness of the plan and ensure the county is ready to take full advantage of the service when it comes on-stream.

The commercial sector has invested heavily in upgrading its networks in recent years especially in areas of high population density, but rural dwellers are significantly limited in terms of the broadband service they can obtain. The National Broadband Plan will bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas by subsidising the installation of fibre broadband in rural areas.

Important Message for Those in Blue Areas

If your premise is in a BLUE area

  • run a line speed check www.speedtest.net If your speed checks are consistently below 30Mbps), you need to
  • check with ALL operators in your area to see if you can get high speed broadband.
  • If you cannot get a high speed broadband service, you need to Contact the Department – broadband@dccae.gov.ie .  Include your Eircode, a copy of your line speed check results and confirmation of the operators you have contacted.

Subject to your permission, the Department will then:

  • Raise the query with participating operators whose commercial plans are on the high speed broadband map.
  • If commercial plans are yet to materialise, provide you with an approximate timeframe for the availability of high speed broadband to your premises.

Where commercial plans have been rolled out and it is established High Speed Broadband is not available to your premise, nor will it be available from any other operator on a commercial basis, your premise will be included in the AMBER area (Intervention Area).

Connecting to the NBP

The network will be managed as a wholesale service by the successful bidder. This means that once the infrastructure is installed any broadband service provider can sell services to premise owners. It is envisaged that adding competition to the rural broadband market should lead to advanced broadband service offerings at affordable price.

For more informaition on the National Broadband Plan visit the website of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment.

 

 

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