Broadband is a type of internet connection that has high speed capabilities for transferring data. Before broadband was available, the most common internet access was achieved with ‘narrowband’ dial-up connections; this was very slow by current standards. Today, broadband is a much faster connection that allows us to do so much more on the internet.
The National Broadband Plan
The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a government initiative to deliver high speed broadband services to all businesses and households in Ireland. The NBP defines high speed broadband as a minimum speed of 30Mbps always-on download and 6Mbps upload.
At the moment, progress on national broadband services are being achieved through a combination of:
- Commercial investment by the telecommunications sector
- State intervention in those areas where commercial providers acting alone will not provide this essential service
The Government Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) are responsible for delivery of the NBP and are currently in the procurement process to appoint a contractor for the building-out of the infrastructure for the NBP. Please click the following links for more information on the NBP latest news and the procurement process.
On the DCCAE website, the High Speed Broadband Map gives details about broadband availability to your premises. It illustrates where a premises resides within the NBP interactive mapping zones and offers information and relevant advice based on your premises location. See the Frequently Asked Questions and NBP Information Leaflets for more useful information.
The role of the local authority
Wicklow County Council supports and is committed to the NBP and the build-out of all essential telecommunications infrastructure. Once the procurement process is complete for the NBP, the Council will work with the NBP contractor to plan for the delivery of high speed broadband in Co. Wicklow. The Council is also working with telecommunication operators with their infrastructural investment.
In Co. Wicklow, state intervention is required for over 14,000 premises (22% of total premises) and a further 4,123 premises will be provided with broadband services by the end of 2018 through the eir Commitment Agreement (see eir 300k Roll-out) with DCCAE.
To assist the national roll-out of the NBP, local authorities have been requested by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to appoint a Broadband Development Officer for their respective areas. Wicklow’s Broadband Development Officer has two major areas for action:
- To facilitate the successful roll-out of the National Broadband Plan in their respective counties by acting as a single point of contact for the successful NBP contractor(s) and telecommunications companies generally
- To develop and implement a digital strategy to encourage take up of high speed connectivity amongst all sectors of the population, including the creation of awareness of and the stimulation of demand for broadband services
Wicklow’s Broadband Development Officer will work as part of a team within a wider response by the Council in supporting and developing this key piece of infrastructure, for both economic and community development in the county.
News on the NBP (eg regarding road closures, NBP build-out in your local area, broadband preparation work at home and other advice) and Wicklow’s Digital Strategy will be updated regularly to the Wicklow.ie website and Wicklow County Council social media platforms.
Wicklow’s digital strategy
The development of Wicklow’s digital strategy will progress significantly during 2018. Wicklow’s digital strategy team will be working with DCCAE’s appointed consultant to assist local authorities in developing their own county's digital strategy. The consultants will firstly undertake a digital readiness assessment of each local authority in early 2018. This will be then used as starting point for objectives and action plans within the digital strategy.
The ultimate goal of Wicklow’s digital strategy is the optimal economic and social use of the internet by local business, local services and individuals and the main focus will be on:
- Trading online and entrepreneurship
- Citizen engagement/getting citizens online
- Education and learning
Useful links for more information on digital strategy:
National Digital Strategy July 2013
National Digital Strategy (Dept. Communications, Climate Action & Environment)