Homes across Limerick, Galway and Roscommon are to follow Cavan and Cork and become connected to high speed broadband in the near future, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Richard Bruton, who as Minister, signed the contract for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) said: “It is impossible to envisage any vibrant future for rural Ireland that does not have broadband at its heart. It will become the great leveller in delivering the opportunity for equal access to Health and Education, if our institutions seize the opportunity to gear up for remote diagnosis and new ways of learning.”
Deputy Bruton said the pandemic has made the NBP an even bigger priority as we plan for more balanced and sustainable ways of living, and he is delighted to see high speed broadband being connected nationwide as Covid-19 changes the way we live our lives.
“Highspeed broadband nationwide will also allow enterprise to thrive by having quality connectivity. It opens up the chance to develop creative hubs rooted in our communities and is integral to our pursuit of balanced regional development.
“This why in the last Government, Fine Gael began the largest and most significant investment ever in rural Ireland through our National Broadband Plan. Broadband is coming to every town, village and community across the country. This will take time, but homes in Cavan and Cork are now being connected with Limerick, Galway and Roscommon to be connected next.
“Not one of the other political parties supported Fine Gael’s broadband plan and they sought to block it at every turn. There are remote and rural areas in Ireland where commercial providers will not invest. If Fine Gael didn’t persist with this plan, half a million people would have been left behind by the opposition.
“Since the pandemic, the parties that opposed Fine Gael’s Broadband Plan are belatedly coming around to the importance of remote working.
“Fine Gael’s vision for The National Broadband Plan (NBP) was for it to enable new ways of working and exploit the huge benefits that remote working offers to employers, employees and society more generally. This was a crucial part of our strategy to ensure balanced regional development across Ireland, long before the pandemic. But COVID-19 has shown us the demand for this is growing.
“The pandemic has changed the way in which we live, work and interact with each other. Covid has shown us that location is not as important anymore, connectivity is what counts.”
The Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) initiative will see approximately 300 publicly accessible sites in rural and isolated areas provided with a temporary high-speed broadband connection by National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company contracted to deliver the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
Typically, BCPs are community centres, sports clubs and libraries that will make indoor and outdoor internet access available to the public. The sites are identified by the Local Authority Broadband Officers.
To date, 266 sites have been identified for site surveys and installation. There has been good progress with installation being progressed at 143 sites, with 123 BCPs declared ‘live’, meaning that both the initial connectivity and the customer facing equipment has been installed, tested and shown to be performing as required.
Deputy Bruton concluded: “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, it is great to see the installation of high speed broadband already underway in Cavan and Cork, with Limerick, Galway and Roscommon to follow. Surveying works have been underway nationwide over the winter months. While Covid-19 might have delayed us, it will not stop us and Fine Gael is determined that 1.1m people in 544,000 homes, 695 schools, 54,000 farms and 44,000 business in the country will be online under the NBP so that no part of the country is left behind.”