Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, and Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, today (Tuesday, 14th January) announced a further investment of almost €200,000 into rural high-speed broadband through the Broadband Connection Points (BCP) initiative.
Broadband Connection Points will be the first premises connected under the National Broadband Plan roll out and will bring much needed connectivity to some of the most isolated and rural communities in the country, including islands off Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Cork. The first BCP is expected to be connected in the first half of the year, with the remaining sites connected over the subsequent 12 months.
The funding announced today will be provided to each Local Authority based on the number of BCP sites in the relevant Local Authority area, and is intended to cover the costs of minor building or electrical works required to get the BCPs ready for high-speed broadband connection.
Speaking about the BCP initiative, Minister 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 on-line services.
Acknowledging the impact of the BCP network, Minister 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 150 mbps - 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.
Highlighting the hard work of the Local Authority Broadband Officers, Minister Ring said:
BCP sites were identified by the Broadband Officers in each Local Authority, with support from my Department. We now have 300 BCP sites signed-up across the country and in every county, ready to go. 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.