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National Broadband Plan (NBP)

The national broadband plan is a Government policy initiative that aims to bring high speed broadband to every premises in the state.  High speed broadband is defined in the plan as 30Mb/sec always-on broadband.  The delivery of the plan is broken into two main streams:-

  1. Areas where providers can deliver the service on a commercial basis
  2. Areas where state intervention is required to subsidise the delivery of service

In Westmeath, 60% of premises fall within the first category.  These are the areas shaded in blue on the National Broadband map

The remainder of the county, shaded amber on the National Broadband map are in the second category and will form part of the state subsidised rollout.

Procurement of service providers for the state intervention area is ongoing.  Detailed negotiations are currently taking place with three shortlisted bidders.  It is expected that a contract will be signed by mid-2017 following which rollout will commence, most likely starting in early 2018.  It is expected that rollout will take between 3 to 5 years to complete.

Local Authority Role

At Government level the NBP is being coordinated by the  Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE), who are carrying out the procurement of the state-intervention provider(s) and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DAHRRGA) who are responsible for rolling out the NBP.

DAHRRGA have engaged with the local authority sector with a view to facilitating and streamlining the rollout of the NBP, to ensure that there are no barriers to its smooth rollout and to engage directly with the selected NBP company when rollout starts.  Each local authority will establish an NBP project team and a broadband officer.

Westmeath County Council’s project team has been established and is led by David Hogan, Director of Services and comprises staff from the LEO, Community Development, Planning, Transportation and ICT Departments.  A designated broadband officer has also been appointed.  The purpose of this group and the role of the broadband officer is to assist in the rollout of the national broadband plan by:-

  • Developing a digital strategy for Co. Westmeath
  • Ensuring that there are no obstacles to the timely rollout of the project
  • Identifying priority areas within the state-intervention area for early adoption of high-speed broadband
  • Developing co-development plans to ensure that any local infrastructure projects take broadband roll-out into account
  • Creating a single point-of-contact between the appointed NBP contractor and the Council

The National Broadband Plan Map

The national broadband map is available on the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment’s website.  A downloadable version of the Co. Westmeath map is available.  This map is under constant review by the Department and can be used to determine whether your property lies in the blue or amber areas.  The interactive map can be zoomed in to show individual property locations, which will assist in identifying your precise location.

You can check if your premises is located in an amber or blue area by either:-

  • entering your Eircode or address into the Search box on the map (if you don’t know your Eircode, you can get it on the Eircode website
  • zooming in to your location.

Important Message for Those In Blue Areas

If your premise is in a BLUE area

  • run a line speed check www.speedtest.net If your speed checks are consistently below 30Mbps), you need to
  • check with ALL operators in your area to see if you can get high speed broadband.
  • If you cannot get a high speed broadband service, you need to Contact the Department – broadband@dccae.gov.ie .  Include your Eircode, a copy of your line speed check results and confirmation of the operators you have contacted.

Subject to your permission, the Department will then:

  • Raise the query with participating operators whose commercial plans are on the high speed broadband map.
  • If commercial plans are yet to materialise, provide you with an approximate timeframe for the availability of high speed broadband to your premises.

Where commercial plans have been rolled out and it is established High Speed Broadband is not available to your premise, nor will it be available from any

other operator on a commercial basis, your premise will be included in the AMBER area (Intervention Area).

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Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 16/01/2016