The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. By the end of this year that number will rise to nearly 8 out of 10 premises and by 2020, 9 out of 10 premises or 90% of premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This will be achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.
My Department is in a formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area. When the procurement process reaches a satisfactory conclusion for Government, a contract will be awarded and the network rollout will commence.
In September 2015 the Government agreed on and published its 6 year Capital Plan, Building on Recovery, which included an allocation of €275m for the State led Intervention under the NBP. This provides the initial stimulus required to deliver the Government's intervention. Funding of €75m has also been committed through the European Regional Development Fund.
Further funding will be required over the lifetime of the proposed 25 year contract to build, maintain and operate the broadband network in the State Intervention Area.