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Broadband Infrastructure

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Broadband Infrastructure

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Heather Humphreys

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Snippet Contents:

I thank the Deputies. Every one of us is aware of the importance of broadband in rural areas. I thank the Deputies for raising this issue. In response to Deputy Stanton, the fact we are talking about it this morning creates awareness around what is happening. The local authorities have been doing a good deal of work on this. There are local broadband officers in every local authority. They identified the hubs and have been working with communities. In many community centres, people are voluntarily giving up their time to make sure the centre is open and people can go in and use the high-speed broadband.
On reports on usage, we will get them in due course but we want to roll out the first 300 connection points and I hope to have them all rolled out by the end of quarter 1. There were some delays because of the effect of Covid on the supply chain. They were not able to get the equipment they needed to make the connection.
This issue is important for students. Many of them are working at home because they have been told they cannot go to their colleges. It is difficult for them and they need access to high-speed broadband. They will be able to do that from these hubs and that is why the few bob to help them kit out the hall, put in the desks and a few dividers and have a wee private area is there. There is €5 million there for that. I intend to spend that early next year. We will be looking for calls on that.