Ireland’s Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) has issued an update on the progress of the National Broadband Plan (NBP), noting that despite the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19, ‘significant progress has been made in the first half of 2021, with a number of key milestones achieved and momentum building on the project’.
In terms of the rollout progress, the DECC reported that as of 23 July 2021 a total of 239,361 premises had been surveyed, with deployments covering over 92,000 premises under construction and 19,378 premises able to either pre-order or order a connection. Main build works have been completed in two ‘Deployment Areas’ (‘DAs’), in Counties Galway and Cavan, while main build works are said to be progressing with the first premises expected to be made available for connection to the NBP network in 2021 in the following DAs: Ballinasloe, Carrigaline, Dundalk, Limerick, Monaghan, Kilcoole, Roscommon, Tipperary and Tralee. Dates for first available connections in early 2022 are also estimated for the following DAs: Carlow, Castlebar, Killarney, Mullingar, Sligo, Waterford and Wexford.
With a total of 45 retail service providers (RSPs) ultimately expected to offer services to consumers over the NBP network, the DECC noted that at present 19 such providers are ‘actively’ selling services via the in-deployment infrastructure across Cavan, Clare, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Monaghan and Roscommon.
Meanwhile, in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and acknowledging its impact on the delivery of the NBP, the DECC noted that in May 2021 it had approved a Remedial Plan for 2021 put forward by National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company rolling out the new high speed fibre broadband network under the NBP. This Remedial Plan reflects revised targets for the year taking into account delays encountered due to the pandemic and challenges around programme ramp up and network rollout, and the updated contracted target under this plan is for almost 60,000 premises passed by the end of 2021.