Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (732, 763)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

732. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a company (details supplied) or related companies within the group will be permitted to sell products and-or services outside the intervention area; if he has tested this to ensure compliance with state aid rules; if he or existing operators have engaged with each other on the issue in view of the fact that it creates a State backed competitor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30494/19]

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Barry Cowen

Question:

763. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a company (details supplied) will be able to build broadband infrastructure in non-intervention areas; if this is in breach of state aid rules; the protections in place that prevent state aid rules being broken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31066/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 732 and 763 together.

The NBP State intervention is a gap funded model.  While National Broadband Ireland (NBI) will be a commercial operator, its primary function will be to deliver the obligations set out in the NBP Contract.  NBI cannot use the State aided network or subsidy in breach of State aid law.

In addition to this function, NBI is also under a general obligation under the contract to comply with State Aid, meaning NBI is required to ensure it does not use any assets subsidised by the State in a manner that would breach State Aid law.  

There are also reporting and monitoring obligations across the NBI contract, such as accounting separation and open book accounting.  This is to ensure there is full transparency regarding proper use of the subsidy year on year.