Thursday, 20 June 2019

Questions (40)

Éamon Ó Cuív


40. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the financial provision in the National Development Plan 2018-2027 for the roll-out of rural broadband; the adjustments that will have to be made to the plan over the next five years to provide for the current projected cost of the roll-out of the national broadband scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25625/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I should first say that responsibility for the National Broadband Plan rests with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. However, I can say that the Government's decision to proceed with the National Broadband Plan (NBP) was taken on the basis that additional expenditure that may be required, beyond that already allocated within the National Development Plan (NDP) framework, will be funded by future revenues and will accordingly not have funding repercussions for other planned projects within the NDP.

 Based on preliminary assessments, current indications are that the NBP roll-out will require c. €1.6bn in additional funding over the period of the NDP out to 2027.  €800 million has already been allocated for this purpose in the National Development Plan and therefore the additional funding now required by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment is €477 million over the period 2019-2022, and a total of €1.579 billion over the full period of the National Development Plan (2019 to 2027). 

As I have already indicated, I intend to provide the additional capital required to fund the additional cost of proceeding with the project from future revenues - this will be done in the context of updating the overall multi-annual capital ceilings set out in Project Ireland 2040.  This means that the decision to approve the appointment of the Preferred Bidder will have no repercussions for other planned projects within the National Development Plan.  No other projects will be delayed or rescheduled, and no other changes will be made to the capital allocations for other projects as set out in the National Development Plan as a consequence of the Government’s decision to proceed with the National Broadband Plan.