I propose to take Questions Nos. 852 and 861 together.
The Government appointed National Broadband Ireland (NBI) as the Preferred Bidder for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) in May 2019. Since then my officials have been performing the necessary financial and contractual due diligence work needed before a contract can be concluded. The Department’s work is well progressed and, pending Government approval, I expect to sign the contract before the end of the year after which deployment will commence.
The NBP contract for the State intervention will be with NBI. NBI will be supported by a number of internationally experienced subcontractors, including the KN Group, Kelly Group and Actavo among others to assist in the delivery of the NBP. NBI is also finalising infrastructure access agreements with key infrastructure providers such as eir and enet.
In the first year of roll out, the NBI will deploy over 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide communities with a high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations. The BCPs are included in the overall scope of the National Broadband Plan and NBI’s solution which was submitted and evaluated as part of their final tender submission. The BCPs along with a number of other parts of NBI’s solution will be subject to a subcontract. NBI will be required to demonstrate good value for money for these key subcontracts. NBI is currently putting in place the necessary subcontracts with its key suppliers, so that it can assure the delivery of its commitments under the NBP contract.
I can confirm that neither I nor officials in my Department have met with the company referred to by the Deputy in the context of the National Broadband Plan.