Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Questions (68, 73)

Bríd Smith

Question:

68. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when details of the decision by the broadband procurement team on the remaining bidder tender will be announced; the costs to date of the broadband procurement process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14169/19]

View answer

Bríd Smith

Question:

73. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans for the roll-out of rural broadband nationally in the event the procurement team does not give the tender for rural broadband to the one remaining bidder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14196/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 73 together.

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. This is being achieved through a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. In 2012, less than 700,000, or 30% of all 2.4 million Irish premises had access to high speed broadband. Today, 74% of premises can access high speed broadband.

The NBP procurement process is now at the final stage. I will bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks. I do not propose to pre-empt the outcome of my Department's assessment, nor any decision that Government may make.

Expenditure on the National Broadband Plan since 2013 is €25.4M (including VAT). This expenditure includes the cost of corporate and economic advice, technical support and network design, the cost of legal and environmental advice. These services were procured by way of competitive tender. In addition, the Department has staff and other administrative costs related to the NBP.