Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1216)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

1216. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the figure of €3 billion cited as a cost for the national broadband plan represents the total cost or the amount needed as an additional subsidy as part of the gap funding model. [18644/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

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.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government has agreed to this.

The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to the finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence immediately after contract signature.

The total State subsidy is capped at under €3 billion including VAT and contingencies and is spread over the 25 years of the contract.