4 July 2022

Designing and delivering a high-speed broadband network for 1.1 million people in rural Ireland

Ordnance Survey Ireland

"Ordnance Survey Ireland’s (OSi’s) national spatial data framework, Prime2 is underpinning almost all aspects of one of the most ambitious deployments of broadband infrastructure in the world. Undertaking a project on this scale without accurate, reliable geospatial data would be nigh on impossible."

Colin Bray Chief Executive Officer and Chief Survey Officer, Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi)

Within just seven years, National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has to design and build a state-of-the-art, full-fibre network for the 1.1 million people in rural Ireland who need improved access to the Internet. The network will connect 537,596 rural properties, including over 54,000 farms and 679 schools, across every region and island in the country.

NBI needs to be able to understand not only where the properties are that need to be connected, but also where there is existing infrastructure (like poles) that can be reused and where new assets need to be located. It needs to know where land is privately owned, where surveys are taking place, where fibre-to-the-premise has been installed so far and much more besides.

NBI primarily relies on OSi’s national spatial data framework, Prime2. Used by designers on desktops and engineers in the field, it provides everyone at NBI with access to the same authoritative mapping data, including OSi’s open data on municipal district boundaries.


Enables a more cost-efficient network design process.

  • Allows NBI’s infrastructure designers to create their initial network plans at the desktop due to the comprehensive detail in the Prime2 data.

  • Saves time and improves the overall efficiency of the design phase as the accuracy of these plans means that engineers are less likely to need to make design changes when they visit sites.

Improves project planning and site safety.

  • Enables NBI to more accurately identify which poles are within which municipal areas and submit planning requests to the correct local authority using Prime2 and OSi’s open source boundary data.

  • Enables NBI to easily see which roads are public and recognise the road category, so that it can work with local authorities to put the most appropriate safety measures in place for employees working near busy highways.

Enables effective management of build costs.

  • Provides insights to accurately ascertain how much cable it needs per section, calculate the value of assets on private property and better manage the total cost of the build phase.

Facilitates well-informed decision- making across the project.

  • Enables employees in the office,

    working from home or in the field to easily access the geospatial information they need to make decisions.