The first homes and businesses have been successfully connected in Cork and Cavan under the national broadband plan, with connections in Limerick and Galway due in the coming weeks.
National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company delivering the new high-speed fibre-to-the-home network, made the announcement on Friday.
NBI’s team has scaled operations to work across all 26 counties and currently has construction, the final phase of delivering the network, underway for 19,237 premises in townlands across Cork, Cavan, Galway and Limerick.
The initial premises across these counties will be able to start placing orders through their chosen provider from January 25th, with approximately 20 per cent of premises being businesses and farms, who will also have access speeds of one gigabit per second.
NBI expects the number of premises under construction to be in excess of 130,000 by the end of the year, with approximately 70,000 premises available for connection at prices similar to those available in urban areas.
Residents and businesses will be able to place orders with a number of providers which will offer services over the network.
Some 33 providers have already signed up to sell services on the NBI network and 17 are certified as ready to start providing connections to the first premises once they become available and customer orders are made.
The O’Connors from Carrigaline, Co Cork, are the first family to be connected and are now benefiting from the new high-speed network.
Resident Brian O’Connor said: “This new connection to high-speed fibre broadband under the national broadband plan is going to bring incredible benefits to our family.
“Our youngest son starts school next year and will need a reliable internet connection to convert his schoolwork to Braille.
“I also work away from home frequently, so having the ability to speak and see each other remotely is going to mean the world to us, as well as helping us have more regular contact with other family members. These are things that many people in other areas might take for granted.”
National Broadband Ireland chairman David McCourt said it was an “extremely proud day” for the company.
“We started with boots on the ground in January 2020 and teams have scaled and mobilised to be in 26 counties across the country, working incredibly hard to roll out the national broadband network as quickly and effectively as possible, despite the extremely challenging environment caused by Covid-19,” he said.
“Today’s announcement is an extremely proud day for NBI as we see the first homes experience the life-changing benefits that high-speed broadband provides.
“Our teams nationwide have conducted over 158,000 surveys and 120,000 designs of individual premises which are the critical first steps in this ambitious rollout.
“While working in accordance with the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines to keep our teams and the public safe, we are doing everything in our power to ensure we can connect premises as quickly as possible.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the first rollout of the plan to the homes and businesses in Carrigaline was “a significant milestone”.
“Access to a new high-speed fibre network will be transformative for communities and businesses across Ireland, especially in light of the pandemic and an increasing reliance on remote working and learning,” he said.
“The national broadband plan creates opportunity in every part of the country, giving people a better work-life balance and opening up digital technologies to homes, schools and all sectors of the economy.”