National Broadband Ireland hosts EU Broadband Competence Offices Network as NBP rollout passes 250,000 milestone

European BCO Delegation heard that Ireland’s National Broadband Plan is on time and on budget

20 June 2024: National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company responsible for delivering the Irish Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) in the intervention area, today hosted a delegation from EU Member States. The session featured the rollout of fibre broadband to rural Ireland under the NBP.

The delegation from the European Broadband Competence Offices (BCO) Network, which brings together EU Member States’ national and regional public authorities in charge of broadband deployment attended a series of presentations with senior NBI officials about the company’s rollout of fibre broadband to rural Ireland.

NBI’s fibre rollout has now passed 254,917 premises across rural Ireland. Last month, the company announced that it aims to make high-speed fibre broadband available to over 300,000 homes, farms and businesses before the end of this year. Overall, NBI’s rollout will deliver fibre broadband to 564,000 premises across the country by the end of 2026.

To date, over 84,000 premises have connected to high-speed broadband through NBI’s network. While connections are averaging at 1 in 3 nationally, the take-up rate is already exceeding 50% in areas where the NBI’s network has been available for longer.

Minister Ossian Smyth, Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, said: “The Government has made significant progress delivering high-speed fibre broadband to rural Ireland. We’re delighted to host our European colleagues and to share insights and learnings with them from our work on the National Broadband Plan. The project is being delivered within budget and is set to be completed on schedule by the end of 2026.

“The National Broadband Plan is seen as a benchmark for European connectivity projects. It not only represents a significant achievement for Ireland, but also highlights our commitment to fostering a digitally inclusive society for all our citizens.”

Commenting on the EU delegation visit, Peter Hendrick, National Broadband Ireland CEO said: “In 2019, NBI won the bid to deliver the National Broadband Plan on behalf of the Irish Government, one of the most ambitious telecoms projects in the world. It’s a truly once in a generation infrastructure project and is one of the biggest and most significant investments in rural Ireland ever. Given that we have over a quarter of a million homes passed, with over 84,000 already connected, and since the project is on time and on budget, it is an ideal opportunity to share our experiences of delivering a project of this scale with the EU Commission.”

Jan Droge, BCO Network Director commented: “The engagement between stakeholders from the EU Member States with National Broadband Ireland was a really positive one, particularly around the demonstration of successful approaches, good practices to stimulate innovation, and facilitating a transfer of knowledge and ideas towards creating a European Gigabit Society and Digital Decade. As we know, the future competitiveness of Europe’s economy depends on advanced digital infrastructures and services, since fast, secure, and widespread connectivity is essential for the deployment of the technologies that will bring us into tomorrow’s world.”

David McCourt, founder and chairman of National Broadband Ireland commented: “A huge amount of credit must go to the Irish Government for its ambition in developing the National Broadband Plan. Their blueprint coupled with our execution provides a model for other countries to follow, as Ireland will soon become the most connected country in Europe. Critical to the success of the National Broadband Plan, NBI has built up a team of some of the best and brightest minds in global telecoms who intimately understand how to build and operate a world-leading open-access network and attract over 70 Internet Service Providers to sell service on the new national network. We are excited to share our learnings with the rest of Europe, covering everything from our survey, design and build practices, our early technology choices, our stakeholder engagement and demand stimulation strategy, right through to our customer service capabilities which have resulted in industry leading net promotor scores.”

The European BCO Network, whose objective is to build their capacity to bring reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity to all EU citizens, convened a series of meetings in Dublin over the 18th and 19th of June.

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