Half of premises clear key engineering milestone as National Broadband Plan gathers pace
The scope of the National Broadband Plan has expanded in rural Ireland with National Broadband Ireland now responsible for serving an additional 17,000 premises across the country. This comes as NBI reports that 50% of all premises within its remit have had engineering surveys completed, allowing NBI to move to its network design and network build phases of the project.
As of December 2021, NBI, the company rolling out the new high-speed fibre broadband network under the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) initiative, has over 280,000 premises surveyed nationwide; of which more than 230,000 premises are in network design and approximately 150,000 of those premises are in the final phase of the rollout with construction underway.
The engineering surveys, which involve documenting images and taking detailed notes and measurements for premises, are an essential early step in the broadband deployment process, allowing for more accurate design work and ultimately a more efficient fibre network build.
NBI is working in communities across the country to design and build the new high-speed, Fibre-to-the-Home network, which will connect over 1.1 million people and over 554,000 premises in the project’s Intervention Area. At the start of the project, the Intervention Area initially had 537,000 premises in scope.
As of December 2021, there are over 554,000 premises, indicating the intervention area is growing and that NBI will be delivering high-speed fibre broadband to more premises. Such an increase can be attributed to the addition of newly built premises and the reclassification of premises as eligible for connection under the National Broadband Plan. The Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) has determined that premises that cannot receive a minimum 30MB/s from commercial operators will be supported by the NBP.
NBI contractors have been on the ground across the country since January 2020 carrying out engineering surveys. This involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables, and underground ducts in each area. These vital engineering survey works enable “Fibre-to-the-Home” network designs to be completed for each of the premises in the Intervention Area as identified by the DECC.
Network designs for over 230,000 premises have been developed since the project commenced. Approximately 150,000 of these premises are currently in the build phase of the project, which includes the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts, and the insertion of sub-duct into existing ducts, for fibre to be installed.
David McCourt, chairman of National Broadband Ireland said: “The completion of engineering surveys for over 50% of premises in the Intervention Area is a key milestone for the National Broadband Plan. At National Broadband Ireland we have the best and brightest minds working tirelessly on the rollout of the National Broadband Plan across Ireland.
“This project is of vital importance in providing equal opportunities for communities across rural Ireland, and will help to promote and support social progress, equality and sustainability. This is the over-arching goal of the National Broadband Plan and we’re incredibly focused on delivering this as quickly and effectively as possible.”
NBI chief executive Peter Hendrick said: “The fact that we have seen the scope of this project grow is a vote of confidence in our capacity to deliver high-speed connectivity for families across rural Ireland. Some of the increase is a natural increase in one-off housing and new build premises in communities, but we also know that the Department, under its overall NBP initiative, is looking in some considerable detail at premises that previously fell outside the scope of our project, and they are determining that many of those premises, in order to have access to high-speed fibre broadband, need to be served by National Broadband Ireland. This is a real vote of confidence in our process and our build teams.
“The Irish people deserve a fibre network capable of transforming the capacity of what can be delivered from rural settings throughout the country and ending the digital divide once and for all.”
For more information about areas that have been surveyed to date, visit the NBI website at: https://nbi.ie/rollout-plan/