By Elizabeth Lee
NATIONAL Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company working with government to deliver the National Broadband Plan (NBP), which will address the country’s rural/urban digital divide, has announced that surveying works in several areas ‒ including Carlow ‒ are well underway.
NBI contractors have been on the ground for months surveying townlands across the country. This involves walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area. In Carlow, the first areas being surveyed include Downings, Ballymurphy, Coppenagh, Killerig, Friarstown, Slaneyquarter and Kilmagarvoge. Others will include Nurney, Agha, Old Leighlin, Clogrennane and Kellistown. The survey will help engineers to design a fibre network for every premises in an ‘intervention area’ – a map of almost 537,000 premises nationwide identified by the Department of Communications as not being served with adequate broadband services.
In Carlow, there are 8,088 premises in the intervention area (IA), which include homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates to 29% of all premises in the county. Under the National Broadband Plan, Carlow will see an investment of €32 million in the new high-speed fibre network. This will enable e-learning, remote monitoring of livestock or equipment, e-health initiatives, better energy efficiency in the home and more remote working – all of which support the National Development Plan.
The first homes in Carlow will be connected next year, with over 115,000 premises nationwide passed with the fibre network and available for connection within 18 months. In year three of the roll-out, NBI will continue to ramp up its design and build activities. By then, 40% of all premises in the IA will have access to future-proofed high-speed broadband.
NBI has updated its website www.nbi.ie with a search tool to enable the public to check whether their premises is within the roll-out area and to show indicative dates for early surveying areas. All areas must first be surveyed to enable low-level designs for building the new, high-speed fibre network. The first phase of the roll-out has already seen more than 33,000 premises surveyed.
Separately, surveying is also underway for a target of 300 broadband connection points (BCPs) that will be connected nationwide in 2020. These facilities – which include GAA clubs, schools, community centres and other public facilities – will provide free access to high-speed internet in the roll-out area.
Over 250 premises have had surveys completed to enable high-speed connection capability by a designated retail service provider. These will pave the way for rural communities in the IA to receive the benefits of broadband, from mobile working, e-learning and mobile banking to digital tourism. In Carlow, some BCPs include Duckett’s Grove, Borris Library and Rathanna Community Centre.
The public can log onto www.nbi.ie for more information or to sign up for updates in their area. They can also call 0818 624624 (local call rate) or email [email protected]