Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (276)

Michael McGrath

Question:

276. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the estimated cost of the national broadband plan; the amount paid to date; the expected amount that will be paid between now and the completion of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40400/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The goal of the National Broadband Plan intervention is to engage a company to build, operate and maintain a high speed broadband network in order to provide access to high speed broadband services to every home, farm, school and business in Ireland – no matter where they are located. Since the Government’s decision on 7 May 2019 to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan, work has continued to finalise a contract with the preferred bidder, including the finalisation of financial and legal documents. The deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after the contract is concluded with the preferred bidder.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment and in the first year of roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises at the end of the second year, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.

The procurement process has determined that the maximum cost to the State over the 25 year term of the project will be €2.1bn, excluding VAT of €355m and contingency of €480m. The total spend to date on the procurement process and subsequent evaluation of tenders is €28,235,975 (including VAT).

While work continues on finalising the contract and in parallel to this work, I am considering the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Communications Committee report which was published recently. I will bring my deliberations of the report to Government in due course.