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Matthews welcomes high speed fibre network progress in Kilcoole

Date: 24 June 2021

Significant work has been ongoing in recent months on the Kilcoole network serving the wider local area regarding the National Broadband Ireland (NBI) high speed fibre rollout. This has included surveying and designing the network for over 2,800 premises and more recently, ground works including the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts and other enabling works to allow for the fibre to be installed. Last week, Deputy Steven Matthews met with the Project Manager of NBI to discuss and encourage a faster rollout of this service. Discussing the meeting, Deputy Matthews said:

“The progress in Kilcoole is very positive news for residents in the surrounding areas and is just another step in the full rollout for the county in due course. The importance of having a high speed, reliable fibre network has always been known, particularly in areas that rely on slow, expensive, and unreliable connections which is a particular concern in rural locations. I have been contacted by a huge number of families in this situation throughout lockdown who have found working/ studying and home learning extremely difficult due to the lack of broadband speed. Without the proper infrastructure in place, there is little that can be done, so I hope it will offer some comfort to people to see that concrete progress is being made.

“During my meeting with NBI, it was outlined that there are 15,350 premises to be served in the Wicklow area, which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates to 23% of all premises in the county. Under the National Broadband Plan, Wicklow will see an investment of €59M in the new high-speed fibre network. This will enable e-learning, remote monitoring of livestock or equipment, e-health initiatives, better energy efficiency in the home, and more remote working. This is not just an issue that impacts individuals but also business owners who find competing and establishing a presence online very difficult when they are not on a level playing field.

“I have been assured that the first homes in Wicklow as part of this rollout will be connected later this year and that once installed, minimum speeds of 500mb will be available. This is an enormous jump from what is available at present and I also welcomed the confirmation that the prices, provided by various private providers will be competitive and fall in line with those in areas that already benefit from fibre broadband. I also raised the issue of poor, localised issues with broadband in urban centres that many of us have faced, particularly with multiple people working from home, and I am conscious that this will also need to be reviewed going forward.

“I would encourage all residents waiting for the fibre rollout to check the NBI website to ensure that their Eircode is listed in the intervention area. I have been made aware of a small number of anomalies whereby through human error a house or group of houses was left out of the plan. In each instance we have been able to fix the problem, so it is very important that you check that your house/ business is included in the rollout map to avoid any further delays down the line.

“The benefits that this will have to communities in Wicklow are immeasurable. One of many will be the potential increase of remote working, long after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. Offering people the opportunity to either work from home or work in digital hubs close to their homes has been a longstanding policy of the Green Party and these flexible work options can work but only if the broadband infrastructure at a national level is there to sustain it. I look forward to continuing to work with NBI as they continue their rollout across Wicklow and if there is anyone who has any questions with regard to the rollout, I would be more than happy to assist them, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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