The contract that I signed with National Broadband Ireland on 19 November is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.
It will ensure that one quarter of the country mostly living in rural Ireland are not left behind. Without high speed broadband it will be much more difficult to sustain existing jobs or create new ones. It will make it possible for rural Ireland to take advantage of the opportunities created by the digital economy, from health care to farming from education to agricultural development to tourism
Officials working in the NBP Division of my Department, supported by a team of external expert advisers, have been working on this initiative since 2013. The total amount spent to date on the National Broadband Plan is €28.833 million. This amount is largely comprised of the cost of these external advisers, as well as other costs associated with the procurement process. These external advisers have provided advice across many areas of expertise including, technical advice, financial and procurement advice, legal advice, economic and strategic advice, environmental advice and insurance and tax advice. The cost of external advisers to date is €28.16 million.
My Department's NBP team has also been supported by other officers across the Department. While the Department does not operate on a basis of allocating costs for each staff member across its range of functions, salary and other administration related costs for the Department are published in the annual Estimates and in the Appropriation Account.