The government has allocated 217.5 million euros for the deployment of the National Broadband Plan (PNB) as part of the 2023 budget, down slightly from the 225 million euros planned for the project this year.
Including funds allocated to the NBP, the government on Tuesday announced funding of €273 million to support connectivity and communications in the 2023 budget. The total figure includes €7.5 million allocated to the National Cybersecurity Center to increase the workforce to 63 by the end of next year from 25 in 2021.
Speaking at the Dáil on Tuesday, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath said an additional 11,000 homes had been connected to fiber optic cable as part of the national broadband rollout since July, bringing it to 75 000 the total number of Irish households with access. at high speed.
The controversial rollout has been beset with delays and last April it was estimated that implementation of the plan was up to six months behind schedule.
The initial target of 205,000 premises adopted at the end of January 2023 was revised down to 102,000 in an agreement between the government and National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company building the network.
However, the Oireachtas Committee on Communications was told in late June that the rollout was now a month ahead of expectations to reach the revised target of 102,000 and NBI is confident of reaching that number before the end of the year. year. In a project update in July, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Communications said that so far 64,000 premises had been adopted by the NBI network with construction work underway in the 26 counties nationwide.
On Tuesday, Minister McGrath said the €217.5m funding had been allocated in a bid to meet the government’s target of having access to 185,000 households by the end of next year .
In a statement, Minister of State for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth TD, said: “The additional funding for connectivity and communications will allow us to continue rolling out broadband to every home in the countries, and strengthen our defenses against serious domestic cyber incidents.