There is breaking news that the National Broadband Plan (NBP) is in jeopardy due to the possible withdrawal of eir from the tendering process (see www.independent.ie/ www.irishtimes.com); However, the tender process it is in all likelihood to continue to completion.
At the most recent Broadband Officer/ Regional Action Group meeting (Thursday 25th January 2018) with the Dept. CCAE, the tendering process was entering the final tender submission phase, with deliberation over the final tender winner predicted to be complete in Q2-2018, with final cabinet sign-off expected for Q3-2018. The on-site works on the NBP build-out are expected to commence in Q1-2019 at the latest.
In Co. Wicklow, the NBP is due to bring high speed broadband to over 12,000 rural premises (Amber zones areas of the NBP interactive map). However, there is a considerable amount of areas / premises within urban areas (commercial blue zones areas of the NBP interactive map) that are not yet receiving high speed Broadband. These areas are not in the NBP and therefore commercial operators will not be subject to any contractual agreement with the Dept. CCAE to provide high speed broadband in these areas.
Each of these commercially serviced areas /premises, outside of the NBP, have their own difficulty/ reason for not yet receiving high speed broadband, here is an example list of reasons that I have learned of so far;
- Lack of commercial incentive by the current operator resulting in a lack of investment in the infrastructure (no competition for customer);
- The cessation of copper wire build-outs (e.g. in estates where copper wire already exists and a new phase of housing within that estate won’t then be connected to the local cabinet);
- The property is serviced by copper wire (ADSL) and is too far away from the fibre cabinet to receive high speed broadband (copper only transmits high speed broadband for a certain length);
- The local fibre cabinet has not been upgraded in order to deliver high speed broadband (the eir 300K rural fibre project has possible delayed the ongoing eir cabinet upgrade nationally).
The good news is that Virgin Media and SIRO are currently investing significantly in there own fibre network infrastructure within Co. Wicklow (urban areas) and this will increase competition for urban services and hopefully see provision of fibre high speed broadband services to problem areas not currently receiving a fixed broadband service. This will also give commercial incentive for further investment by existing commercial operators.
I hope this information is useful, please feel free to call or arrange and call into me at your convenience.