The Minister for Communications has said he has asked his officials to examine the feasibility of accelerating the roll out of the National Broadband Plan.

Richard Bruton told the Dail that the plan has come in for criticism in the past, but the current crisis has highlighted its benefits.  

"People can see the value of things like e-health, being able to be connected wherever you are living, of having the opportunity of remote working," he said.  

He said he had asked officials to investigate whether the process could be speeded up so that those who are due to get high speed broadband in year six or seven of the rollout could get it sooner.

"The target is to try to from the second half of next year to try to accelerate the rollout," he told the Dail. 

The contract to deliver high speed broadband was awarded to the National Broadband Ireland consortium, led by Granahan McCourt.

It must connect almost 540,000 premises around the country that currently cannot get it.

The contract was signed in November last year and at that stage National Broadband Ireland and the Government said it could be up to seven years before every last home or business is brought online under the €3bn plan.