National Broadband Ireland pledges to provide coverage to 102,000 homes by 2023

Controversial broadband project has been beset by delays

The company behind the National Broadband Plan says it will have passed more than 100,000 homes and premises with its new high-speed fibre network by the end of this year.

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the entity established by US tech magnate David McCourt to carry out the project, said it was well on track to complete the project on time and within budget.

The delivery of the multibillion-euro project has been beset by delays since it started more than two years ago and the company has been criticised for missing several early rollout targets.

However, in an update, NBI said it will have passed 102,000 of the premises earmarked for coverage by the State-subsidised plan by the end of 2022.

It also said premises under construction would grow by 43 per cent to 221,000 in 2022, which it said represented 40 per cent of the scheme’s total intervention area. This area covers more than 540,000 mainly rural homes and businesses.

NBI also reported take-up rates of more than 30 per cent in deployment areas that have been live for at least six months.

“The leading indicators give us confidence that this ambitious project can and will be delivered on time and on budget,” Mr McCourt said.

“Our ability to move premises from the construction phases to the order phase is seriously ramping up which means users can reap the benefits of the transformational network sooner,” he said.

Take-up of services

NBI chief executive Peter Hendrick said early take-up of services was exceeding 30 per cent in many of the initial deployment areas.

“By comparison with any national or international comparison this is indicative of very high uptake levels, substantially ahead of initial expectations,” he said.

“Ultimately, we are confident of an overall take-up of approximately 85 per cent and already have some 50 broadband providers signed up to sell services on the NBI network,” he said.

This platform competition, Mr Hendrick said, would bring significant benefits directly to consumers by ensuring that bundled voice, broadband and TV packages offer real choice at competitive prices.

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