19th November 2019

Author: Nicola Cooke

537,000 premises in 26 counties to be connected with superfast fibre broadband

National Broadband Ireland (NBI) today signed a landmark Public Private Partnership with the Irish Government to deliver the National Broadband Plan (NBP) across the country.
The project is one of the most ambitious of its kind globally and will end the digital divide between urban and rural communities. It will provide equal opportunity for 100% of the population ensuring every household and business has access to high-speed broadband, with no-one left behind.

Work to commence within eight weeks

NBI is proud to be delivering such a large key national infrastructure project – that will benefit over one million people – and look forward to commencing the network roll-out plan within eight weeks. Surveying and design teams will start work in early January in the first deployment locations. These include Carrigaline in county Cork, parts of Connemara in west Galway, and several towns in the counties of Kilkenny and Limerick.

Job creation

Around 650 people will be employed directly and indirectly over the first 12 months of the NBP, and 90% of these will be employed locally in each of the deployment areas. NBI’s key partners and subcontractors – which includes the KN Group, Kelly Group, Actavo, 4Site and Nokia – will provide many of these positions, with boots hitting the ground in January. The current NBI team of over 60 will grow to approximately 225 over the first 20 months of the NBP contract.

Broadband Connection Points in every county

In tandem with NBI’s deployment to every house and business in the Intervention Area, approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points – where the public can access free high speed internet access – will be connected across the 26 counties. The first of these will be delivered in Q2 2020, and all will be connected by the end of next year. These will provide public access at hubs such as libraries, community centres, schools and local GAA facilities.

New NBI website for roll-out area

A new website www.nationalbroadbandireland.ie has launched today where the locations of these BCPs can be identified, and the public can register their interest for NBP updates. Once NBI has integrated the final roll-out area map – of 537,000 premises across 96% of Ireland’s land mass – into its network design, it will be possible to check with an Eircode if a premises is in the rollout area, with an indicative date of when it will be passed with fibre.
NBI look forward to continuing to work closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and to meeting quarterly milestones as set out in the contract.

NBI chairman and telecoms entrepreneur David McCourt said: “The National Broadband Plan is a momentous infrastructure project to empower rural Ireland, which – until now – has remained significantly underserved by high speed connectivity. We want to see residents and businesses thriving in rural parts of the country, and ensure they have a bright and sustainable future, with the same opportunities as those in urban areas. It’s our mission to put an end to the digital divide nationwide.

“This critical infrastructure will rejuvenate rural communities by creating jobs, driving advancements in education, healthcare and business, and giving every person in rural Ireland the opportunity to live and work, where they are from. It’s a project that puts Ireland on the world stage and will enable the country to continue to punch above its weight as a leading global economy.”

NBI chief executive officer Peter Hendrick said it was a proud day for the company: “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.”
Issued Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

For further information please contact Nicola Cooke, Head of Communications, National Broadband Ireland (NBI) at media@nbi.ie
Images will be supplied to news desks by Julien Behal Photography

Notes to editor

The National Broadband Plan
The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland. It will ensure that all citizens and businesses have access to high speed broadband no matter where they live or work. This will be delivered through a combination of commercial and State led investment. Once completed, all parts of Ireland will have access to a modern and reliable broadband network, capable of supporting current and future generations.
The scheme will involve laying 146,000km of fibre cable to connect every one of the 537,000 premises in the roll-out area. This is an area where high speed fibre broadband is not currently commercially available. The full deployment across 96% of Ireland’s land mass will take 5-7 years, but approximately 250,000 rural residents will be passed with fibre by the end of Year 2 – where works will be taking place across every county in Ireland. In Year 1, approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) will be delivered across all 26 counties to ensure the public will have access to high speed internet access at hubs across various communities.
Broadband Connection Points (BCPs)
BCPs are basically digital community hubs that will provide free State-funded WiFi in places like libraries, community centres, schools and GAA facilities in each county. In 2020 approximately 300 of these will ‘go live’ with between 7 and 23 BCPs in each county, to ensure that people in the rollout area have some sort of access nearby to high speed broadband.
They will have a variety of uses such as business start-ups, e-learning classes, community initiatives and so on. People can come there to access online services or do essential tasks. If you go to the www.nbi.ie website you can check if you are in the Rollout Area and also where your nearest BCP will be – ahead of fibre passing your premises.
Benefits of broadband
• Enables remote working meaning reduced commuting hours and improved productivity
• Connected homes with capability for multiple efficiency devices such as energy management systems, digital security monitoring and online e-health interactions
• Reduced cost bundle packages including mobile, broadband, television and home phone
• Improved in-home entertainment such as media streaming
• Access to online educational tools and digital courses
• Time savings with access to online transactions such as passport and motor-tax renewal, grant applications and e-government facilities
• Enabling growth in the SME sector through digital transformation with improved access to international markets and digital commerce.
• Boosting tourism via capability to market internationally, reliable online bookings/payments and provision of quality high speed Wi-Fi access for customers

Who are NBI
NBI’s leadership team have significant national and international expertise in delivering transformative broadband networks to both residential and business communities. This includes developing, building and operating networks and co-ordinating all the elements required to finance and deliver a project of the size and complexity of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan.
Combined Team’s Experience
24 National Telecom Networks rolled out/managed in Ireland, Europe, US and Central America
120,00km fibre delivered across 56 projects
380 years of combined telecommunications experience in the leadership team
16 Greenfield Telecom operating companies built and launched
€40bn Funding, Financing and Management of Infrastructure Assets
For further information please see www.nbi.ie/who-we-are/

Granahan McCourt and NBI were advised by Trasna Corporate Finance and Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking