I propose to take Questions Nos. 42, 50 and 53 together.
On 12th April 2018, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced it had allocated finance of €500 million to the rollout of a high speed broadband network for the National Broadband Plan. EIB financing is only offered to projects which contribute to EU Economic policy objectives, such as the improvement of EU transport and telecommunications infrastructure and which also meet the EIB’s requirements for overall quality and soundness. It would not be appropriate for me as Minister to comment on the terms of investment of EIB finance, when I do not have a statutory function in the matter.
Nevertheless, I welcome the announcement from the EIB as an endorsement of the NBP State led intervention as it enters its final stages. The allocation of €500m in EU financing from the EIB provides the project with the potential to access reliable and affordable finance from a recognised European financial institution under the Investment Plan for Europe. It brings us a step closer to achieving our ultimate goal of the plan which is to connect 542,000 premises regardless of location.