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Irish National Broadband Rollout Justly Criticized

The rollout of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) has come in for serious criticism, as it has emerged that just 27,000 homes, to date, are only in a position to be connected to the network.

Representatives from the Department of the Environment, Climate, and Communications, which in 2019, awarded the contract to sole bidder Granahan McCourt Capital (GMC), (latter a private investment firm focused on connecting people to innovation in technologically underserved areas), will appear before an Oireachtas Public Accounts committee (PAC) this morning.

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr Brian Stanley has criticized their progress to date, deeming it to be totally unsatisfactory.

The initial target for delivery by the National Broadband Plan (NBP), (latter the company formed by the selected contractor to deliver on the plan), by the end of 2021 had been 115,000 homes. The 27,000 connections delivered to date sadly equates to only 23% of that same envisaged target, despite telecommunications activity being deemed ‘essential work’ throughout the Coronavirus pandemic lock-down.

NBP had been expected to deliver high-speed broadband, with speeds of up to 150mb, to some 544,000 homes and businesses by the year ending 2027. Back last January, the Government cut that envisaged target rollout period for the NBP, down from 7 years to less than 5 in order to accelerate a move to remote working.

Broadband Service Providers In General

However, there remains major problems with all broadband service providers here in the Irish Republic, with Vodafone and Eircom Limited, in particular, charging between €50.00 and €71.00 per month for services offering downloads of a mere 12.00 Mbps and uploads of 2.80 Mbps, here in central areas of Thurles.

Same service providers are almost impossible to contact and cannot be trusted when it comes to Bank Direct Debit charges. Users are being forced into the inconvenience of having to switch service providers on an annual basis, in order to get value for money. Some households are being forced to setup phone hotspots for the sending and receiving of email.

Time now for government to take a closer look at the activities of all broadband service providers, here within the Irish State.

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1 comment to Irish National Broadband Rollout Justly Criticized

  • Chris

    That’s because Eircom hasn’t rolled out Fibre to the home yet in Thurles town. NBP won’t serve Thurles as its considered commercially viable area. Can’t give you an estimate date of when this is will be rolled out, but it’s planned. There’s Cable, VDSL 100mb(fibre to the cabinet) and ADSL2+ (24mb) in Thurles.

    Note that the maximum speed via VDSL is 100 but getting up to this speed is dependent on your phone lines distance to the cabinet. E.g your house could be beside the cabinet, but your phone line could be up to a KM in length in ducting underground to it. So instead of 100mb, you’ll only get 3mb. In these situations ADSL2+ can be faster range of 5km vs VDSL which only has a range of 1km.

    The higher the speed, the higher the price. For example I pay €105 euros per month to Eircom for 1000mb FTTH here in rural Thurles. Before 2018, I was paying €55 per month for 2mb ADSL1. FTTH has a range of around 20km, everyone receives the same speed of their relevant price plan regardless of distance to the exchange. It does technically suffer from congestion but it’s negligible/unnoticeable. There’s no phone line, it’s fibre directly from the exchange to the Drop point-OLT and ONT unit installed in your house. Your home phone plugs into the back of your router and your landline is through Voip. Disadvantage if there’s power cuts is you can’t use your home phone (note you do have the option to keep the old PTSN phone line for calls only but Voip is superior in voice quality/clarity)

    Virgin media (cable) is up to 1000mb in Thurles, depending on whether its fibre or docsis 3.1 cabling, speeds can vary.

    Whilst they haven’t announced it publicly yet, ESB/Siro plan to roll out FTTH in Thurles in the near future. They have (since June) been carrying out resistograph (strength/stress tests) on poles before putting plant on them.

    Airwire.ie and Digiweb.ie have line checkers that can give you a good idea of what speeds are available to you in Thurles. Some people in liberty square and surrounds just don’t know that there’s VDSL available in the town and are stuck on older ADSL2+ thinking it’s the fastest speeds they can get.

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