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First broadband plan community connection points open

The first 50 of 300 community Broadband Connection Points (BCPs), that are being rolled out as part of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) have been connected.

BCPs are public locations which have been selected to receive free high-speed connectivity in the first year of the NBP, to provide broadband to communities that don’t have it, ahead of the connection of houses and businesses in the area.

The temporary hubs will offer wireless speeds of up to 150Mbps for three years or until their provided with a permanent high speed connection under the NBP.

The BCPs include public areas such as community halls, schools, libraries, GAA facilities, enterprise hubs, tourist locations and other public spaces.

Peter Hendrick, CEO of National Broadband Ireland (NBI) which is rolling out the NBP, said the utilisation of the BCPs is even more critical now than it was when the contract was signed last year.

“These BCP locations are set up taking into account social distancing, but also we are talking about connectivity external to the community locations,” he said.

“So external wifi access points have been put up in these community locations. So somebody could access it from the car park if they follow the instructions.”

But he also added that hot desking is available in the premises, taking into account social distancing.

50 BCPs have now been connected with over 200 public points due to be connected before the end of this year along with 75 schools. 

More will be added next year bringing the total number of connected public access points to 300 in 2021.

The first BCPs are located in 19 counties and include some of the most isolated and rural communities in the country, including islands off the coast of Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Cork.

Given the go-ahead last year, the €3bn National Broadband Plan is being delivered by the NBI consortium.

The BCPs are being rolled out by Vodafone as part of the NBP which aims to connect up to 540,000 premises around the country to high-speed broadband for the first time.

NBP teams areworking in 23 counties and have surveyed 98,000 premises.

The first homes will be connected to the network by the end of this year, with up to 8,000 premises passed by the end of the year.

All premises are due to be connected under the plan within 7 years.

However, the Government has committed to exploring whether the rollout can be speeded up.

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