Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (738)

Michael McGrath

Question:

738. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps taken towards negotiating a contract with the preferred bidder for the national broadband plan following confirmation of the decision relating to the preferred bidder; the role of his Department in the contract negotiations; the role of external advisers; the timeline for the completion of the negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30611/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan. Under this plan, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas.

  I recently brought a recommendation to the Government to confer preferred bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process, and the Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government decision means that it is intended to award the State intervention contract to National Broadband Ireland, subject to contract close, including the finalisation of financial and legal documents.

National Broadband Ireland will be supported by a number of experienced subcontractors and is currently tasked with finalising negotiations on contracts with approximately 40 subcontracts to assist in the delivery of the NBP. It is anticipated that a subset of approximately 15 to 20 of these subcontracts will be required prior to contract close to support deployment. The state aid notification relating to the NBP will also be submitted to the European Commission.

A period of final due diligence on all elements of the contract is part of the normal conclusion of a procurement process.  The Department's specialist team, supported by expert advisors in legal, procurement, commercial, technical and financial areas, are working to close the contract at an early date.