24 Jun Dillon welcomes confirmation of ‘make ready’ build works commencing in Mayo
– ‘Make Ready’ works around Castlebar and Ballina pave the way for the next stage of deploying fibre;
– Work to include fibre being deployed on poles/ducts, and include the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts, etc.;
– National Broadband Ireland has also established a dedicated team to investigate the potential for acceleration of the fibre network rollout.
Fine Gael TD for Mayo, has welcomed confirmation from National Broadband Ireland that ‘make ready’ works are well underway around Castlebar and Ballina with over 2,100 premises being connected before year-end. Over 2,600 premises will be connected in Ballina by the end of February 2022. The ‘make ready’ works will pave the way for the next stage of deploying fibre. The works include fibre being deployed on poles/ducts, and include the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts, and the installation of subducts into existing ducting. In addition, National Broadband Ireland has also established a dedicated team to investigate the potential for acceleration of the fibre network rollout.
Deputy Dillon said: “In January, I highlighted a total of 2,139 premises will be ready for connection in townlands around the Castlebar area before the end of 2021. Connections throughout townlands in the Ballina area will commence from September 2021 to February 2022. In addition, a total of 2,678 premises will be ready for connection in townlands around the Ballina area later this year. In total, over 4,800 premises around Mayo will be available for connection to high-speed broadband before Christmas. This will also allow for greater works to commence in rural areas outside of Castlebar and Ballina. At present, it is necessary to build the network out from urban areas where existing infrastructure exists and extend connectivity to surrounding rural area and work outward from there. Laying ducting in highly remote areas serves nobody unless the necessary infrastructure to connect into is already in place.”
Deputy Dillon added: While it is great to see ‘make ready’ works well underway around Castlebar and Ballina, the pace of surveying needs to be accelerated. There are 36,614 premises to be surveyed in Mayo with over 8,200 now surveyed. This represents about 23% of premises surveyed and that is not good enough. Greater priority needs to be given to surveying works in Mayo to enable faster rollout. Broadband is essential for remote working and the necessity of fast and stable broadband is required for so many things. While it is essential to ensure rural areas are connected as quickly as possible, I am also aware of many urban broadband deficits including a number of businesses in Castlebar who are unhappy with their existing connections.”
Deputy Dillon concluded: “I was recently informed in Dáil Éireann that NBI has established a dedicated team to investigate the potential for acceleration of the fibre network rollout from its current contracted schedule. Substantial work has been completed by this team to date including productive engagement with current build partners. I have recently met with a number of commercial broadband providers and called on them to provide greater investment in Mayo. There has been great innovations in how to get broadband fibre optic cabling into the ground as quickly as possible. There are now different technologies including greater use of micro trenching which is fast and has the added benefit of minimising road damage and traffic disruption. We need to be incredibly proactive on this and ensuring as fast a rollout as possible.”