National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has announced the signing of what it called a ‘landmark’ Public Private Partnership with the Irish government, under which it will deliver the National Broadband Plan (NBP). In a press release confirming the development, NBI said it expects to begin work on the project within eight weeks, with surveying and design teams set to start work in early January 2020 in the first deployment locations; these reportedly include Carrigaline in county Cork, parts of Connemara in west Galway, and several towns in the counties of Kilkenny and Limerick.
Ireland’s NBP project will involve laying 146,000km of fibre cable to connect 537,000 premises in the rollout area, which is focused on locations where high speed fibre broadband is not currently commercially available. The full deployment across 96% of Ireland’s land mass will reportedly take between five and seven years to complete, but approximately 250,000 rural residents will be passed with fibre by the end of the second year of the project. Meanwhile, in year one NBI has said that approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) – digital community hubs that will provide free state-funded Wi-Fi in places like libraries, community centres and schools – will be delivered across all 26 counties to ensure the public will have access to high speed internet access at hubs across various communities.
In the wake of the contract signing, NBI has launched a new website where the locations of BCPs can be identified and where the public can register their interest for NBP updates. Additionally, once NBI has integrated the final rollout map into its network design, it has said it will be possible to check whether a premise is in the rollout area using a postcode, with an indicative date of when it will be passed with fibre.
NBI’s chief executive Peter Hendrick said of the matter: ‘Our experienced team with the best and brightest minds in telecoms from Ireland and around the world, has spent almost four years working on all the NBP requirements, delivering detailed network design and build plans. We can’t wait to get out on the ground, delivering this essential utility across large tranches of Ireland that currently have no access to reliable high speed broadband. It will be a game-changer.’