While National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has said it is committed to connecting 54,000 farms to high-speed broadband, it could not say the number of farms already connected.
When asked by the Irish Farmers Journal how many farms were connected, it could not provide the figures.
In April, NBI announced that the first farm was connected to the network.
Currently, there are 33,366 premises available to order, which means they are eligible to order services from a broadband supplier on the new high-speed fibre broadband network.
This figure includes homes, farms and businesses, but the NBI was not able to say how many of these premises are farms.
Building the network
“Over the course of the National Broadband Plan, NBI is committed to connecting 54,000 farms across Ireland,” a spokesperson for NBI told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“As a wholesale, open-access provider, NBI is responsible for designing, building and operating the new fibre network under the National Broadband Plan, and the company makes the infrastructure available to every retail service provider (RSP) in the country.
“Hence, NBI publishes updates around how many premises are ‘passed’ and ready for connection, whereas the RSPs are responsible for connecting end-users and delivering the chosen broadband product.”
The NBI confirmed that take-up of connections on the NBI network is “above the industry average and is growing all the time”, supported service providers scaling their own demand stimulation activities in the intervention area and end-users becoming able to switch to the new network in line with when their previous broadband contracts expire.
A recent parliamentary question shows that the NBI had a target of having 60,000 homes, farms and businesses connected by the end of 2021. However, it will now only have around 35,000 connected, Minister of State at the Department of Communications Ossian Smyth said.
“The number of premises passed by the end of December will be in the order of 35,000, while between 50,000 and 60,000 premises will be able to order or pre-order a service by the end of the year,” he said.
Independent TD Denis Naughton said it was deeply disappointing that revised targets set just last September will not be reached by the end of December.
“In reality, this means there is a further delay in the delivery of broadband to homes, which is now running 12 months behind target - six months more than was admitted to just last September.
“These delays are due, at least in part, to the failure of Government over the last two years to address bottlenecks within the planning and regulatory system,” he said.