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Ireland National Broadband Plan Q&A: How long will it take to complete, can I find out if I'll be able to access it and is it value for money?

12:45  20 november  2019
12:45  20 november  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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(stock photo) © PA Archive/PA Images (stock photo) Q: So when is work going to begin on delivering the National Broadband Plan?

A: Surveying and design teams will start work in early January in the first deployment locations including Carrigaline, Co Cork, parts of Connemara and several towns in Kilkenny and Limerick.

Q: How long will it take to complete the work?

A: National Broadband Ireland (NBI), which signed the contract to deliver the plan, believes reaching all 537,000 premises via 146,000km of fibre will take up to seven years. It will be passing about 115,000 premises in the first two years, and almost 300,000 premises within the first four years.

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Q: What if I happen to live in one of the areas that will be the last to be reached?

A: The plan is that every household and business will have access to high-speed broadband with "no one" left behind, but it's not going to happen overnight. So, there is also a plan for approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs), where the public can have free, high-speed internet access, around the country. The first of these will be delivered in the second quarter of 2020, and all will be connected by the end of next year. These will provide public access at hubs such as libraries, community centres, schools and local GAA facilities.

Q: Right, is there a way for me to find out when I can expect to be able to access superfast fibre broadband?

A: Yes, there will be more information published in the coming weeks in relation to the roll-out. Those behind the project say, because of its scale, it will become available in different areas at different times. The plan has been broken into 110 specific roll-out locations, and each of these will be built and connected to the network, and ultimately homes, on a phased basis.

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A new website has been launched - nationalbroadbandireland.ie - where the location of the new BCPs can be seen and where members of the public can register their interest for updates on the plan.

Once NBI has integrated its final roll-out map of all 537,000 premises across 96pc of Ireland's land mass into its network design, it will be possible to check with an Eircode if a premises is in the roll-out area, with an indicative date of when it will be passed with fibre.

Q: It's costing the State €3bn over 25 years - it's not cheap, is it?

A: True. It's being hailed by the Government as the biggest investment in rural Ireland since electrification. This figure includes €480m for contingency costs, and €354m in VAT.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the contract contains all sorts of clawbacks, and he would wager it will cost less than €3bn.

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