Sinn Féin TD for Meath East, Darren O’Rourke, says the latest update for Meath from National Broadband Ireland (NBI) will come as a major disappointment to people waiting to be connected to high-speed broadband. The update provided to Deputy O’Rourke confirms that just 14% (2,936) of the 20,969 properties included in the ‘intervention area’ will be available for connection by the end of 2022 and further outlines that a massive 49% (10,275) of connections, almost half, will be made in the final two years of the plan – in late 2025 and 2026.
Deputy O’Rourke says the fact that the plan is significantly back-loaded is hugely frustrating, particularly given the fact that existing targets are being missed.
He told Meath Live, “The update provided to me by NBI outlines the progress to date and projections for broadband rollout in the county for the remaining years of the National Broadband Plan (NBP). We know that this is a hugely important project and that targets are being missed by a long way to date, in part due to Covid.
“However, the NBI’s update outlines the planned rollout in Meath and sets out that 14% of the 20,696 properties in the plan will be available for connection by the end of 2022, 40% by the end of 2023, 51% by the end of 2024, 95% by the end of 2025, and 100% by the end of 2026.
“There is always an element of ‘lag’ on projects such as this due to the nature of the works. It takes time to survey and design before the actual building commences, but the extent of this lag and the resulting back-loading of connections in Meath is particularly disappointing.
“It must also be noted that these targets are very dependent on NBI’s ability to speed up the rate of rollout. NBI say they are working along with Eir (who own much of the existing infrastructure) to speed up the rollout, and may need some intervention from the regulator, ComReg, in this regard. They also say they are exploring new “self-install” technology that would help.
“I do welcome the fact that NBI say that some of the earlier barriers to smooth rollout – such as engagement with local authorities and rules regarding polling – have been largely addressed, but the rollout is still too slow and targets are still being missed. I will continue to press for improvement on both these fronts.” ENDS