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2017
3
March

The NBP Intervention Area Map

The NBP Intervention Area Map

IrelandOffline have learnt that eir have announced that it will have the “entire Dingle peninsula” fibred-up in  2017. Congratulations seem to be due to broadcaster and musician Philip King on having pulled this one off. Most small communities are at their wits’ end to find a way to induce telecommunications into their area and great credit is due to those like Philip who develop local resources and a long term vision for their communities.  https://t.co/qTWrLvzEYP

There is however a wider issue. Areas coming within the scope of providers’ plans may potentially be removed from the NBP intervention area. Their place in the broadband queue will then be at the sole discretion of the providers. And with no neutral oversight, the potential for lobbying by those with star-power or influence will inevitably become a factor in the private roll-out schedule. To date both siro and eir have shown that they are amenable to this kind of influence and not all communities are equally blessed with high profile individuals to do a bit of lobbying.

The plan

Equally one could ask whether the private plans will be realised at all. In June 2015 eir announced a rural FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) plan for 300,000 premises, and in a subsequent announcement detailed  the first 100,000 which were due be ready three months from now.

Apart from the obvious damage this does to the overall NBP business case by cherry-picking the easier 100-300,000 from the overall 900,000+ premises, it has proved impossible to get a frank disclosure of how that rural announcement has been progressing; eir’s beloved ‘forward looking statements’ are all that we are offered in place of facts.  

In March 2016 eir promised that almost 13,000 premises in County Galway would have a fibre service available by March 2017 while the reality in December 2016 is that at most 300 households can order it and many of these rural locations have quietly slipped to summer 2017 at the earliest.

The majority of premises currently covered by eir’s FTTH service are in urban areas.  Ominously, eir no longer talk of those first 100,000 rural connections being ready by next March. Having ignored their responsibility to invest in their rural network for the last 15 years eir now wish to retain the best bits, discard the rest, and issue veiled threats if they can’t have their way.

Recommendation

This is why we call on Minister Naughten to put an end to the disruption caused by the eir (300k) announcement, and the uncertainty caused to the NBP. They should be included definitively in the NBP intervention area, and the forthcoming update to the intervention map should put that beyond doubt.

The evidence or more accurately the lack of it is to be found on a telephone pole in rural Ireland today.  

 

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