Amid reports of delays and missed targets, National Broadband Ireland said thousands of premises can now order services on the new high-speed broadband network.
Nearly 20,000 premises in Ireland are eligible to order services under the National Broadband Plan, while more than 92,000 premises are currently in the “build phase” of the project.
That’s according to an update from National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company delivering the National Broadband Plan on behalf of the Government.
It said that more than 19,000 premises in the first deployment areas can now order high-speed fibre broadband from their retail service provider of choice. This includes customers in Carrigaline, Galway city, Cavan town, Limerick city and Ballinasloe.
More than 92,000 premises in 25 deployment areas are in the build phase, which involves the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts and other works to pave the way for fibre roll-out.
NBI added that almost 223,000 premises have already been surveyed, and network designs for more than 174,000 premises have been developed since the project commenced.
However, the multibillion-euro plan is facing delays. The Business Post reported earlier this month that tens of thousands of homes and businesses that were due to get high-speed broadband this year will miss out as NBI is falling short of its targets.
Around 4,000 homes and businesses have been reached in the first half of this year, out of a target of 115,000 by the end of 2021. The Business Post also reported that fewer than 650 homes and businesses have been connected to high-speed internet so far.
“We have the best and brightest minds working tirelessly on the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan,” said David McCourt, chair of NBI, in the company’s update today (22 June).
“In spite of the unprecedented disruption presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re working within the Government’s guidelines to ensure that everyone can access high-speed broadband as quickly as possible.”
McCourt added that the easing of lockdown restrictions would “further assist” in the roll-out and that more announcements about live connections would be expected soon.
The National Broadband Plan aims to connect more than 1.1m people across 544,000 homes, businesses, farms and schools in Ireland where commercial operators do not currently provide high-speed connectivity.
NBI connected the first premises to the network at the start of this year, and around 44 retail service providers have signed up to sell services on the network.
The project is slated to be complete by 2027, but delays have raised concerns about that deadline being met.
NBI said last week that more than 1,000 people have been employed on the project since it started in January 2020.