Communications minister Dermot Ahern TD has said that the Broadband Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) programme is on schedule, with more than 100,000 metres of fibre rings circling Cork, Galway, Limerick and Ballina.
The MAN project, 90pc funded by the Government under the National Development Plan, is co-funded by the EU.
So far construction of the MANs has begun in nine locations, including Cork, Galway, Mayo, Limerick, Athlone, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Tullamore and Roscommon.
Further MANs are planned for the South East and Donegal. A MAN is planned for Gweedore, with work set to begin next month following the signing of a grant agreement.
Similar agreements with the South East Regional Authority and Letterkenny Broadband are currently being financed, with both projects due to start in September.
Minister Ahern commented: “To date there has been almost 100,000 metres of fibre cable constructed, mostly in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Ballina. The construction in Midland areas has only commenced recently but I expect delivery within planned time frames. I am delighted that this major programme is running to schedule and am confident that businesses, industry, the health and education services and members of the public will soon be experiencing the benefits of this vital infrastructural project.”
So far some 99,597 metres of fibre cable have been laid at the various locations, with a further 111,029 metres of cable to go.
The deadline for receipt of tenders for the running of the independent Management Services Entity, which will manage the country-wide network of MANs and offer access to telcos and businesses, is due to expire on 15 August.
By John Kennedy