Under my Department's regional broadband programme, a 23 km metropolitan area network will be constructed in Sligo town, in association with Sligo County Council. A number of tenders for the construction phase of the project have been received by the council, and are being assessed. An announcement of the successful contractor is expected shortly. The civil engineering contract is expected to cost between €3 million and €4 million, of which 90% will come from Government and ERDF funding, with the remaining 10% from Sligo County Council.
Under the broadband rollout programme, 26 larger towns and cities are being provided with high-capacity fibre networks, which are managed for the State on an open-access basis, allowing service providers to offer services at very competitive prices. Smaller towns such as Tubbercurry, Ballymote and Gurteen can avail of my Department's group broadband scheme, which offers up to 55% funding for communities to group together with service providers and obtain broadband connectivity using the technology most suited to their circumstances. More than 50 groups have already applied for group broadband scheme funding and wireless local area networks appear to be the favoured delivery platform in most cases.
Full details of the group broadband scheme may be found on my Department's website,www.broadband.gov.ie, and full details of the regional broadband programme are on www.dcmnr.gov.ie.