THE first Limerick homes and business to secure access to high-speed broadband under the National Broadband Plan, will be connected this summer, it has been confirmed.
National Broadband Ireland (NBI), which is designing, building and operating the new fibre broadband network for rural Ireland, says it expects around 2,000 premises in Limerick will be connected by October.
The first connections - to around 1,600 premises in the greater Limerick city area - could be complete by June with customers then being able to sign up with a service provider once the fibre 'passes' their property.
At a virtual meeting, Donal Hanrahan – Chief Operating Officer with NBI Deployment - told members of Limerick City and County Council that the network will be extended to other parts of Limerick once work to build a regional exchange in the city is complete.
From there work will begin to build a number of 'local exchanges' at locations across Limerick including Adare, Abbeyfeale, Hospital and Newcastle West.
Mr Hanrahan explained that each exchange caters for premises which are located within a 20km radius meaning around 1,300 homes and business in Clare will also be connected once the Limerick city exchange is built in June.
Around 350 premises in East Limerick will receive high-speed broadband via an exchange in Tipperary Town which is due to be completed by October.
The special council meeting was told the new fibre network, which will offer speeds up to 1GB, is being rolled out in specified "intervention areas" where commercial operators do not provide a service.
More than 21,000 properties have been identified across Limerick and the total cost of extending the network under the National Broadband Plan will be more than €84m.
While the the first homes and businesses will be connected in Limerick this summer, those in more rural parts of the county will have to wait for at least another 12 months before they are connected.
According to Donal Hanrahan, the local exchange in the Adare area should be built in the second half of 2022 while the timetable for the remainder of the roll-out in Limerick has yet to be confirmed as survey works are ongoing.
The overall plan, he said, will take seven years to complete.