[Ref No.: 44821/15]

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to roll out broadband to rural areas in West Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Anthony Lawlor.
For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 15th December, 2015.


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. 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.
The AMBER areas show the target areas for the State intervention. All premises within the AMBER areas will be included in the State’s intervention.
The map allows all members of the public, be they business or residential, to see whether their premises / home will have access to commercial high speed broadband services by end 2016 or whether they will be included in the Government’s proposed intervention.
It is anticipated that speeds of at least 30Mbps will be also delivered through the Government’s intervention and the network will be designed to cater for future increased demand from consumers and business.
I would encourage consumers to consult the websites of the various commercial operators to ascertain details of current and planned future deployment plans.
I am informed by the commercial operators that next generation broadband services have been rolled out to over 55,000 premises to date in Co Kildare with over 12,500 more expected to be served by commercial investment. Approximately 20,500 remaining premises in Kildare will be covered either by further commercial investment or the proposed State intervention.
Over 40 responses were received following the publication of the NBP proposed Intervention Strategy in July last. Non-confidential versions of these submissions are being published and can be accessed at www.Broadband.gov.ie.
Meanwhile, my Department continues to review the technical and financial detail relating to potential new commercial investment proposals with a view to updating the intervention area Map.
I expect to proceed to formal procurement before the end of the year.
The Government is determined to ensure that the network is built out as quickly as possible and engagement with industry stakeholders has indicated that this could be achieved within 3-5 years of the contract award.
In this context, the NBP proposes that through the combination of commercial investment and State intervention, 85% of addresses in Ireland will have access to high speed services by 2018 with an ambition of 100% coverage by 2020.