Author: Nicola Cooke

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company working with Government to deliver the National Broadband Plan (NBP) which will significantly contribute towards addressing the country’s rural/urban digital divide, today announced that surveying works in several areas are well underway.

NBI contractors have been on the ground since January surveying townlands in counties including Cork, Galway, Cavan and Limerick. In Monaghan, surveyors are working in areas such as Cornacassa, Cortolvin, Ballybay, and Stranooden.Other areas which will be surveyed include Mullinahinch, Bellanode, Drumhilock, Tydavnet, Cloughnart, Scotstown and Killymarley.

This involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. This will enable design solutions for the provision of a fibre network to every premises in the Intervention Area – a map of almost 537,000 premises nationwide identified by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) as not being served with adequate broadband services.

In Monaghan, there are 15,125 premises the Intervention Area (IA), which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and school. This equates to 46% of all premises in the county. Under the National Broadband Plan, Monaghan will see an investment of €60M in the new high speed fibre network. This will enable e-learning, remote monitoring of livestock or equipment, e-health initiatives, better energy efficiency in the home, and more remote working – all of which support the National Development Plan (NDP).

The first homes in Monaghan will be connected in the first half of next year, while over 115,000 premises nationwide will be passed by the fibre network and available for connection within the next 18 months. In Year Three of the rollout, NBI will continue to ramp up its design and build activities, and 40% of all premises in the (IA) will have access to future-proofed high-speed FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) broadband by then.

Broadband Connection Points (BCPs)
Separately, the BCP delivery project is well underway and NBI surveying of approximately 300 locations throughout Ireland is progressing well, which will deliver connectivity in the community in the near future. These facilities – which include GAA clubs, schools, community centres and other public facilities – will provide free access to high speed internet in the rollout area. These will pave the way for rural communities in the IA to receive the benefits of broadband, from mobile working, e-learning and mobile banking, to digital tourism.

In Monaghan, some BCPs include Carn and Latton Resource Centres, Geraldine’s GAA Club and Corcaghan Community Centre. In advance of homes and businesses receiving future-proofed broadband directly to their door, the BCPs will provide vital high speed internet access at locations within the IA. BCP locations are subject to change, and will be operated by a designated internet service provider.

Further Deployment Details
NBI has updated its website with a search tool to enable the public to check whether their premises is within the rollout area, and to show indicative dates for early surveying areas. All areas must firstly be surveyed to enable low level designs for building out the new high speed fibre network. The first of these – for the townlands around Carrigaline in Cork – is now complete, and connections are expected by end of year.

The next connections will be in Galway, Tralee, Cavan and Wexford in early 2021. There are 227 ‘deployment areas’ nationwide across 26 counties where the fibre works will take place. The first phase of the rollout has already seen almost 40,000 premises surveyed to date.

Progress on the ground
NBI chief executive Peter Hendrick said the company is pleased with the progress being made: “We started physical work on the ground in January and I am delighted to report that this is going very well. We are acutely aware that people want access to high speed broadband as soon as possible, and our goal is to deliver that.

“Future proofed fibre broadband will be key to ensuring that Ireland is fully and reliably connected in this digital era – and for future generations to come. The BCPs are a milestone in delivering access to high speed internet in the Intervention Area, and we’re working hard to ensure the first BCP launches are delivered in the next few months.”