National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company rolling out the new high speed fibre broadband network under the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) today announced that surveying works in several areas of Laois are well underway.
NBI contractors have been on the ground across the country for twelve months and over 170,000 premises nationwide have been surveyed to date. 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 network design solutions for the provision of a fibre network to every premises in the Intervention Area – a map of over 544,000 premises nationwide identified by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication (DECC) – as not being served with adequate broadband speeds. The first premises have been successfully connected under the NBP in parts of Cork and Cavan.
In Laois, there are 12,510 premises in the Intervention Area (IA), which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates to 31% of all premises in the county. Under the National Broadband Plan, Laois will see an investment of €49M 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 facilitate increased levels of remote working.
The following areas in Laois are being surveyed: Mountrath, Castletown, Coolrain, Pike of Rushall, Knockaroo, Aghaboe, Kilbricken, Rahenn, Ballacolla and Abbeyleix.
In November 2020, NBI crews commenced with surveying works for townlands outside Stradbally. These initial works pave the way for the next stage of deploying fibre on poles/ducts and includes the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts, and the insertion of sub duct into existing ducts, for the fibre to be installed.
All NBI contractors will also carry official ID cards and essential worker letters, and have received training on adhering to all Covid 19 guidelines. They will have vehicles, PPE and signage with both their own, and NBI logos.
Broadband Connection Points (BCPs)
In advance of the fibre to the home roll out, the NBP provides for the delivery of BCPs nationwide. 113 of these sites are now ‘live’ and have both internal and external broadband access. These facilities – which include sports clubs, community centres and tourist sites – will provide free public access to high-speed internet in the rollout area.
These will pave the way for rural communities to receive the benefits of broadband, from mobile working, e-learning and mobile banking, to digital tourism. A full list can be found at /bcp-map/ Primary schools in the Intervention Area are also being connected for educational access as part of the NBP. Locations of Broadband Connection Points in county Laois will include Donaghmore Workhouse and Famine Museum, Vicarstown Community Centre, Emo Community Centre and Oisin House in Rossmore.
Progress on the ground
NBI Chief Executive Officer Peter Hendrick commented: “We started physical work on the ground last January and despite the challenging environment caused by Covid-19, we’ve grown and mobilised the team to have over 800 people working on the project across all 26 counties and making good progress. We are acutely aware that people want access to high-speed broadband as soon as possible, and our goal is to deliver that.
“Survey designs are an important part of mapping out how every home and business will be connected, and these will provide the blueprint for how the NBI fibre is laid. The BCPs are also a key milestone in delivering access to high-speed internet in the Intervention Area, and we’re delighted to see these being connected for access – internally and externally – right across the county.”
NBI’s website www.nbi.ie has a search tool to enable the public to check whether their premises is within the rollout area, and to show indicative dates for areas being surveyed. There is also a facility to register for updates on this. Detailed designs for the fibre area network are drawn up following these surveys. The network build has started in parts of Cavan, Cork, Galway and Limerick, and some connections are expected by the end of this year. NBI’s contact centre can be reached at 0818 624 624 (lo-call) or firstname.lastname@example.org