Government invests a further €200,000 in rural broadband services

14 Jan 2020442 Views

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The Government will invest a further €200,000 to bring high-speed broadband to rural areas as part of the Broadband Connection Points initiative.

Today (14 January), Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, TD, and Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development Seán Canney, TD, announced a further investment of almost €200,000 into rural high-speed broadband through the Broadband Connection Points (BCP) initiative.

Set to be the first premises connected under the National Broadband Plan (NBP), these BCPs will bring connectivity to some of the most isolated and rural communities in Ireland, including islands off the coast of Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Cork.

The first BCP is expected to be connected within the first half of the year, with the remaining sites connected over the subsequent 12 months.

‘It will give these communities a head start on digital development’
– SEÁN CANNEY, TD

Community centres, schools and sports clubs

Today’s funding will be provided to each local authority based on the number of BCP sites in the relevant areas, and is intended to cover the costs of minor building or electrical works required to get the BCPs ready for high-speed broadband connections.

Commenting on the initiative, Ring said: “BCPs are publicly accessible facilities, such as community centres, schools and sports clubs, in the areas earmarked for connection under the National Broadband Plan. There will be approximately 300 BCPs across the country.

“My department is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment to provide these sites with a high-speed broadband connection this year. The BCPs will allow local people onsite access to broadband so they can work remotely, trade online and access online services.”

Canney added: “The BCP initiative will do two things: first, it will bring immediate and early connectivity to rural communities. They need it, they asked for it and we have responded. Secondly, it will give these communities a head start on digital development.

“They will get broadband speeds of at least 150Mbps – better than a lot of urban areas – and I would expect these sites to make the most of it. We want to see the BCPs providing the maximum public benefit possible, so we will continue to support the site owners as will the local authorities.”

The ministers commended the work of local authority broadband officers, who have put research into identifying suitable sites.

Ring said: “The broadband officers have engaged with hundreds of committees, boards, managers and owners of premises over the last three years to get agreement on BCP connection points. I take my hat off to them.”

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com