I propose to take Questions Nos. 755 and 756 together.
The Project Information Memorandum (PIM) published by my Department for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State intervention procurement process, makes it clear that there is no obligation to reimburse any Bidder, regardless of whether or not the procurement results in the award of a contract. The procurement process is ongoing and continues until contract award.
The Government Decision of 7 May 2019 means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract for the NBP to the Bidder. This award is subject to the completion of the final stage of the procurement process, including finalisation of financial and legal documents.
Not proceeding to a contract would involve significant opportunity cost for the State and its citizens. Firstly, it would at best result in a delay of a number of years in the delivery of a future proofed high speed broadband service to the 1.1 million citizens in the intervention Area and would also introduce considerable uncertainty as to whether or not some premises would be left behind. In addition, the analysis carried out suggests that any alternative option may be more costly than that to be delivered under the existing NBP draft contract.