Government marks ‘major milestone’ in National Broadband Plan

8 Oct 2020

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The first 50 broadband connection points have been connected in some of the most isolated and rural communities in Ireland.

Today (8 October), the Government announced that it has reached “a major milestone” in the National Broadband Plan (NBP), as the first group of broadband connection points (BCPs) have been connected.

BCPs are among the first premises to be connected under the NBP and are located in some of the most isolated and rural communities in the country, including islands off the coast of Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Cork.

The announcement was made by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, TD, and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, at Glenasmole Community Centre in Dublin, which is one of the first 50 BCPs that are now connected as part of the wider roll-out.

‘Investment in rural futures’

More than 200 public BCPs are set to be connected before the end of 2020, in addition to 75 school BCPs. Further installations are planned for next year, bringing the total number of connected public access points to 300 in 2021.

These will provide communities with free high-speed internet access at publicly accessible sites under an initiative called Connected Communities.

“The launch of the first of the broadband connection points under the Connected Communities initiative represents an investment in rural futures and recognises the contribution that rural Ireland makes to the culture, innovation and economy of our country,” Humphreys said.

“More than 50 locations have already been connected by Vodafone Ireland and National Broadband Ireland, with more sites to be installed each week from now until the end of the year and beyond. The Covid-19 crisis has shown the value of digital technology in enabling workers, businesses and families to stay connected and in touch with each other.”

Ryan described the NBP as “one of the most important capital investments in the history of the State”.

“We have seen in recent months how important it has been for all of us to stay connected, and the opportunities digitisation can bring. The Government’s investment in the National Broadband Plan will allow rural communities and households to share those benefits and address the digital divide.”

The full deployment of the NBP contract, which was signed in November 2019, is expected to take five to seven years. It will involve constructing around 146,000km of fibre cable to connect more than 1m people in homes, farms, schools and businesses across the country.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic