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Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, has welcomed the Government’s signing of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) contract.

Minister Stanton said: “I am very pleased that the NBP contract has now been signed with National Broadband Ireland following the European Commission’s decision to approve state aid for the project.  The NBP will enable the delivery of high-speed broadband to rural areas in Cork East where commercial operators are not currently or planning to deliver such a service.  It is envisaged that rollout works will begin within the next eight weeks with over 90% of premises expected to have a high-speed broadband connection within four years.

“Almost 540,000 premises nationwide have been earmarked by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment for state-led intervention under the plan.  This figure includes 56,000 farms, 44,000 businesses and 695 schools.   Although Eir and SIRO have exceeded their targets under their rural fibre network rollouts, the final NBP intervention area will include 37,000 premises originally identified as being served by commercial operators but where the service has not been delivered, in addition to 2,000 newly identified locations,” said David Stanton TD.

National Broadband Ireland will set up a wholesale open access company dedicated to the rollout of a predominantly fibre to the premises (FTTP) network.  The FTTP network will be capable of providing speeds of up to 150 Mbps to the majority of homes and up to 1 Gbps to heavy data users and SMEs.

Minister Stanton continued: “I am very aware of issues with poor broadband speeds and a lack of available service providers in both rural and urban areas in my constituency of Cork East.   The NBP represents the most significant investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification and I have no doubt that, once implemented, it will have a transformative effect on local communities.  

“Cork is expected to receive the largest investment of any county having been earmarked for an allocation of €314 million over the lifetime of the NBP.  As an initial step, the Government intends to introduce six broadband connection points across Cork East in the next year:

  • Ballindangan Community Centre, Ballindangan, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, P67W562
  • Ballycroneen National School, Ballycroneen, Cloyne, Co. Cork, P25TK38
  • Gortroe Community Hall, Gortroe, Youghal, Co. Cork, P36R520
  • Inch Community Centre, Inch, Killeagh, Co. Cork, P36RC43
  • Shrala Community Centre, Knockanevin, Co. Cork, V35Y313
  • T.O. Park, Labbamollaga, Knockanevin, Co. Cork, V35E895

“The availability of high-speed broadband in rural areas should encourage investment and job creation while also improving access to vital services such as health and education. The extension of fibre broadband to rural homes and businesses is crucial for balanced regional development as it will make remote working a viable option, in addition to encouraging cloud-based services, digital learning, electronic payments and bookings and smart farming opportunities”, concluded Minister Stanton.