10.4.1 Digital Connectivity
10.4.1 Digital Connectivity
10.4.1.1 Smart City/Region
The smart city/smart region concept aims to make our cities and their hinterlands more efficient and liveable by embedding smart technology across all functions. These smart concepts include smarter transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal and more efficient ways to light up and heat the city and its buildings. This concept applies not only to cities but also to the rural areas. However, the successful implementation of this concept is very much reliant on access to broadband, fibre technologies, wireless networks and associated infrastructure.
The RSES has the following objectives in this regard: (RPO 134)
a. to extend such initiatives (Smart cities/region) to towns, villages and rural areas to support a Smart Region.
b. To seek investment in broadband, fibre technologies, wireless networks (including an Internet of Things Network across the Region) and integrated digital infrastructures to enable actions that sustainably deliver on smart technologies to increase the innovative, sustainable and competitive placemaking dividend for the Southern Region.
National Broadband Plan
The NPF has the following objective for the rollout of Broadband (NPO 24):
“Support and Facilitate delivery of the National Broadband Plan as a means of developing further opportunities for enterprise, employment, education, innovation and skills Development for those who live and work in Rural Areas”. The RSES has a specific objective to seek to expedite the implementation of the National Broadband Plan.
The National Broadband Plan (NBP), part funded by the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund, is the Government's plan to deliver high speed broadband services to all businesses, farms and households in Ireland, providing broadband to underserved areas where the market has failed due to factors such as low population density and ensuring that people living and working in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas. The targets of the NBP includes:
- 70Mbps - 100Mbps available to at least 50% of the population with a majority having access to 100Mbps
- At least 40Mbps, and in many cases much faster speeds, to at least a further 20% of the population and potentially as much as 35% around smaller towns and villages
- A minimum of 30Mbps available to all, no matter how rural and remote.
Some of County Kilkenny’s towns suffer from broadband deficiencies, which are detrimental to their economic growth. The Council will work towards remedying this, through facilitating the implementation of the National Broadband Plan.
The Council will facilitate the delivery of the National Broadband Plan in accordance with National and Regional policy to:
- Promote the attractiveness of smaller settlements and rural areas generally for economic development, both indigenous and FDI;
- Facilitate more flexible working arrangements such as working from home;
- Reduce social isolation.
10.4.1.3 Metropolitan Area Networks
The Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a network of ducting and fibre optic cable laid within a metropolitan area which can be used by a variety of businesses and organisations to provide services including, but not limited to, telecoms, Internet access, television, telematics and CCTV. The MANs are publicly owned, while allowing all telecommunication operators open access to the networks. They are fibre-based and technology neutral resilient networks, which will ensure adequate capacity for generations to come. To date, Kilkenny City, and Thomastown have been included in the MANs.
10.4.1.4 Telecommunications Antennae
The Council recognises the importance of a high-quality telecommunications service and will seek to achieve a balance between facilitating the provision of telecommunications services in the interests of social and economic progress and sustaining residential amenities and environmental quality.
10I To support and facilitate the delivery of high capacity Information Communications Technology Infrastructure, broadband connectivity and digital broadcasting, throughout the County, in order to ensure economic competitiveness for the enterprise and commercial sectors and in enabling more flexible work practices e.g. remote working subject to other relevant policies and objectives of the Plan
10J To set up and maintain a register of approved telecommunications structures which will provide a useful input to the assessment of future telecommunications developments and would also be useful from the point of view of maximising the potential for future mast sharing and co-location.
Broadband Development Management Requirements:
- All new developments and all refurbishments and urban renewal projects shall, at planning and design stage, show how they will provide for the installation sufficient of carrier neutral ducting for fibre-based data services and incorporate unobtrusive carrier neutral antennae where feasible to facilitate future co- location of services and accommodate multifunctional technologies in the rollout of high-speed broadband and the internet of everything;
- All new significant public infrastructure works such as roads, water and sewerage shall provide carrier neutral ducting where feasible.
- Ensure the provision for development in connection with telecommunications is made in ways which will maximise the use of existing masts and sites so as to limit the impact of development.
Telecommunications Antennae Development Management Requirements:
When considering proposals for telecommunications masts, antennae and ancillary equipment, it is the policy of the Council to have regard to the following:
a) the visual impact of the proposed equipment and access infrastructure on the natural or built environment, particularly in areas of heritage value (See Chapter 9 Heritage);
b) the potential for co-location of equipment on existing masts; and
c) Telecommunications Antennae and Support Structures - Guidelines for Planning
Authorities and Circular Letter PL 07/12.
The Council will discourage proposals for telecommunications masts, antennae and ancillary equipment in the following locations, save in exceptional circumstances where it can be established that there would be no negative impact on the surrounding area and that no other location can be identified which would provide adequate telecommunication cover:
(i) Highly scenic areas or areas specified as such in the landscape character assessment, such as Mount Brandon and the River Valleys or the areas identified in Section 188.8.131.52 Archaeological Landscapes; in such cases the developer shall demonstrate an overriding technical need for the equipment which cannot be met by sharing of existing authorised equipment in the areas and the equipment is of a scale and is sited, deigned and landscaped in a manner which minimises adverse visual impacts.
(ii) In close proximity to schools, churches, crèches, community buildings, other public and amenity/conservation areas; and,
(iii) In close proximity to residential areas.
In the assessment of individual proposals, the Council will also take the impact on rights of way and walking routes into account. To avoid proliferation of structures, which could be injurious to visual amenities, it is the Council’s preferred approach that all support structures will meet the co-location clustering policy of the current guidelines for antennae. The Council will require documentary evidence as to the non-availability of this option in proposals for new structures. The shared use of existing structures will be required where the numbers of masts located in any single area is considered to have an excessive concentration.
Proposals within the County for telecommunications antennae and support structures must show:
a) the alternative sites considered and why the alternatives were unsuitable,
b) the number of existing masts within the County,
c) the long-term plans of the developer in the County and the potential for further masts,
d) and the plans of other promoters and any prior consultations which the developer may have had with other mast owners.
e) all technology shall comply with the strictest environmental quality requirements, including the latest International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines and mitigate adequately against the potential to impact negatively on human health and wellbeing.
 RSES page 158