National Broadband Ireland has commenced construction of its fibre optic broadband network in the rural areas surrounding the town of Ballinasloe local Independent Deputy and architect of the National Broadband Plan, Denis Naughten, has confirmed.
“It is expected that the broadband connections will be available to rural homes in Ballinasloe and South Roscommon by summer, with pre-orders for connections being taken for connection to the 500mbps super high-speed broadband network from June next,” Deputy Naughten remarked.
The sub-contractors for National Broadband Ireland have now started to cut back hedges and lay fibre cable in ducting in areas surrounding the town of Ballinasloe such as Ballydangan, Moore and Creagh.
“While this timeline has seen slippage of about 12 weeks as a result of Covid-19, and due to delays to the installation of telecoms infrastructure, National Broadband Ireland is hopeful it can make up some of this time during the construction of the local network. However, there still remains a risk to the completion dates due to the pandemic.
“It is expected that the vast majority of connections to homes will be from the nearest eir telephone pole and it is important that homeowners make sure they can connect to the fibre when it comes to their door, by ensuring there are no trees etc blocking the route from their home to the nearest telephone pole or that any ducts are free of dirt and debris.
“While the initial build-out will start in the rural areas around Ballinasloe, work has already commenced around Roscommon Town with work in Athlone and additional parts of South Roscommon taking place later in the year. These will be some of the first areas in the country to get this new broadband.
“The next phase of the build-out will include Curraghboy on the outskirts of Athlone to complete the coverage of County Roscommon,” Deputy Naughten concluded.
Further information on the National Broadband Plan can be found at www.nbi.ie and with your eircode you can register for updates.
Funding stream to assist childcare providers
Meanwhile, Deputy Naughten has welcomed the development of a funding stream by the Department of Children to address the shortfall in funding currently being experienced by childcare providers.
“As a result of Level 5 restrictions childcare providers are currently only providing a service to the children of essential workers and to vulnerable children, which has left many providers in a situation where they are unable to generate income to meet ongoing bills such as heating, insurance, mortgage.
“Some providers are operating at just 10% of their capacity and it is simply not feasible for many of these facilities to continue charging fees to parents whose children are unable to attend and some of whom may themselves now be out of work.”
Denis Naughten raised this issue with the Minister for Children, Deputy Roderic O’Gorman, on behalf of local childcare providers.
“Despite beneficiary schemes funding continuing to flow from the Department, along with access to the EWSS, some services may be left with short-term sustainability concerns due to lower income levels arising from current restrictions.
“Officials within my Department are currently developing a specific strand of funding to support sustainability issues arising out of the impact of full and part time early learning and care and school age childcare services opening only for the children of essential workers and vulnerable children,” the Minister for Children responded.
“I welcome this commitment from the Minister, and I would urge him to ensure this funding is made available without delay to ensure no childcare facility is forced to close its doors due to a lack of funding. It is vital that we support this important sector through the current restrictions and ensure they are in a position to continue to offer a service when the return to school and early childhood education is permitted,” Deputy Naughten asserted.