- More than 50 sites connected across the country under new “Connected Communities” initiative
- 275 sites to be connected by the end of the year
Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, and Eamon Ryan T.D, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, today (8th October 2020) announced that the first group of Broadband Connection Points, a key element of the Government’s National Broadband Plan, have been connected.
Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) are among the first premises to be connected under the National Broadband Plan and are located in some of the most isolated and rural communities in the country, including islands off the coast of Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Cork.
They will provide communities with free high-speed internet access at publicly-accessible sites under the Government’s new Connected Communities initiative.
Minister Humphreys and Minister Ryan made the announcement at Glenasmole Community Centre in South County Dublin in collaboration with Anne O’Leary, CEO Vodafone Ireland and David McCourt, Executive Chairman of National Broadband Ireland.
Glenasmole Community Centre is one of the first 50 BCPs that are now connected as part of the wider BCP rollout which will see more than 200 public access points connected before the end of 2020 in addition to 75 school BCPs. Further installations are planned for next year, to bring the total number of connected public access points to 300 in 2021.
Announcing the initiative, Minister Humphreys said:
“The launch of the first of the Broadband Connection Points under the Connected Communities initiative represents an investment in rural futures and recognises the contribution that rural Ireland makes to the culture, innovation and economy of our country. More than 50 locations have already been connected by Vodafone Ireland and NBI, with more sites to be installed each week from now until the end of the year and beyond.
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown the value of digital technology in enabling workers, businesses and families to stay connected and in touch with each other. The BCPs are intended to bring people together through digital connectivity, and it’s that togetherness that I want to emphasise.
When people can work from their own communities, they can maintain the close connections that matter most: family, friends, community, and their homes. More than that, they can support local businesses, sports and community groups, all of which contributes to sustainable communities.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D., said:
“The National Broadband Plan is one of the most important capital investments in the history of the State. It will have a transformative effect on those communities that have too often been left behind.
In advance of fibre being rolled out to rural households across the country, the National Broadband Plan is bringing connectivity to hundreds of remote rural locations by utilising sites such as Glenasmole Community Centre.
We have seen in recent months how important it has been for all of us to stay connected, and the opportunities digitisation can bring. The Government’s investment in the National Broadband Plan will allow rural communities and households to share those benefits and address the digital divide.”
Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, said:
“Vodafone is proud today to partner with Government to officially launch Connected Communities – Broadband Connection Points in rural communities across Ireland. We are delighted to announce that the first 50 connection points are now live.
“The last eight months have propelled us - in terms of how we live, work and interact - on a fast track to embracing the digital society more fully. Such a dramatic behavioural shift with regards to increased remote or smart working, the rise of online learning, shopping and social interaction, has resulted in a sudden and abrupt change in how we need and use connectivity.
“We must now focus on rebuilding our society and economy to be more resilient, more competitive, more digital, and more inclusive. We know that connectivity has to be at the heart of that recovery. The BCPs will provide an opportunity to transform the economic and social fabric of rural towns and communities by addressing the digital divide, improving lives, creating jobs and stimulating rural economic growth”.
Welcoming the launch of the initiative, David McCourt, Executive Chairman of National Broadband Ireland, said:
“Today is an extremely proud day for NBI as it marks the first tangible connections for communities to receive high speed connectivity as part of the National Broadband Plan.
“Broadband Connection Points offer rural communities essential access to free high-speed internet access and they pave the way for the wider rollout of the National Broadband Plan, which as a project of tremendous size and scale. It will deliver world-leading Fibre-to-the-Home broadband directly to almost 540,000 homes, farms and businesses. With today’s launch, we’re excited for communities to start realising the transformational benefits that high-speed connectivity can bring to so many aspects of people’s lives.
“Since being awarded the contract to deliver the National Broadband Plan and work commencing in January, our team has mobilised quickly to make excellent progress in our rollout schedule. Today, our teams are working across 23 counties and we’ve surveyed over 98,000 premises, which involves physically walking the routes where fibre will be laid.
“The first homes will be connectable to a high-speed broadband service by the year-end, and we’re proud to play our role in making sure every person in Ireland has equal access to high-speed broadband and the opportunities that come with that.”
Notes for editors:
The BCP initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Local Authorities and the owners and managers of the BCP sites.
It is expected that c.200 public access BCP sites and 75 school BCPs will be connected in 2020, with further sites to be connected in early 2021. A full list of the connected BCPs is available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/5634d-national-broadband-plan-map/
BCPs will each have their own character and focus. Some will support remote working, others will facilitate study and digital skills training, and many will act as community access hubs with indoors and outdoors WiFi.
BCPs will be provided with a temporary wireless high-speed broadband connection of up to 150mbps which they will keep for three years, or until they are provided with a permanent high-speed broadband connection under the NBP.
National Broadband Ireland (NBI) will act as the Wholesale Service Provider (WSP), while Vodafone Ireland will act as the Retail Service Provider (RSP).