Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (36)

Bríd Smith


36. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps his Department has taken or will take in the future to ensure that companies competing for State procurement of services, such as the national broadband plan, do not collude with each other in the bidding and competitive tendering process to the detriment of the State's finances; the penalties a company might incur if found to have engaged in such collusion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7482/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

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 State led intervention aims to provide high speed broadband to areas where commercial operators are unlikely to invest.

  The nature of this intervention has taken the form of a competitive dialogue procurement procedure.  This process is used for complex contracts where a Contracting Authority is seeking technical solutions to go to market on. Typically this is used for large infrastructure projects and is common practice internationally.  The competitive dialogue process enables greater participation throughout the process by bidders, with separate dialogues taking place directly with the Department's specialist NBP procurement team and each potential Bidder.

The  NBP procurement is structured in accordance with international and EU standards.  This includes requirements in respect of canvassing, conflict of interest, collusion and confidentiality. 

In line with recognised practice, breach of procurement law may result in the disqualification, rejection or elimination of a bidder from further participation in a procurement process.