Major boost for end users as NBI unveils speeds more than three times faster than originally planned

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company delivering the National Broadband Plan (NBP) on behalf of the Government, today announced that the minimum download speed for its standard products will increase from 150Mb to 500 Megabits per second (Mbps). Both business and residential users can also avail of 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) product via internet service providers once the network is live. With the network build commencing this month, NBI is paving the way to bring world-leading speeds to people living and working in rural Ireland.

When NBI signed contracts with the Government in November last year, the original commitment was to provide 150Mbps to every person and business in the Intervention Area (IA) without access to high-speed broadband.

As one of the most ambitious projects of its kind globally to end the rural/urban digital divide, NBI continually benchmarks its products with those available in urban areas in order to ensure that the NBP will provide equal access and equal opportunities to every person it will serve. Once completed, the new network will connect 1.1 million people.

Connecting circa 537,000 premises where commercial operators do not currently provide high-speed broadband, NBI, as a wholesale provider, will make the new Fibre-to-the-Home technology available to all retail service providers operating in the Intervention Area. With businesses able to access packages in excess of 1Gbps when the network has its first connections later this year, the National Broadband Plan is expected to play a key role in rejuvenating the potential for enterprise and employment in rural Ireland.

NBI Executive Chairman, David McCourt, commented: “In undertaking the National Broadband Plan, the Irish Government is revolutionising the opportunities for people in rural Ireland, who will have the ability to connect to local and global opportunity for the first time with high-speed broadband.

“Since the global Covid-19 pandemic struck in Ireland over six months ago, many people’s lives have changed significantly and we are much more reliant on digital connectivity than ever before. Today’s announcement to increase our minimum speeds empowers every person, every school, every farm and every business in the Intervention Area to gain access to truly world-leading speeds and we are incredibly proud to be playing our part in bringing this to rural Ireland.”

Progress To-Date

In the six months to-date since work commenced, NBI has mobilised its team to work across 17 counties nationwide with survey work completed for over 63,000 premises. Build work for the new fibre network is due to commence in parts of Cork and Cavan by the end of this month, and shortly after that, in townlands in Galway. As a project of tremendous size and scale, the Intervention Area spans 96% of Ireland’s land mass and NBI will eventually use enough fibre to go round the world nearly four times as it delivers state-of-the-art Fibre-to-the-Home connections.

NBI Chief Executive Officer Peter Hendrick said that the huge increase in minimum download speeds that will now be delivered under the NBP is fantastic news for those living in the Intervention Area: “At NBI we realise the vital importance of building a network that not only caters for today’s demands, but future-proofs for generations to come. Our promise is to continue to build a limitless Ireland with reliable, future-proofed superfast broadband.”
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