I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 and 312 together.
According to my Department’s High Speed Broadband Map, available at www.broadband.gov.ie, there are some 14,000 Sligo premises and some 11,000 Leitrim premises in the AMBER area. The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP and are the subject of an ongoing procurement process.
The procurement process to appoint a bidder for the State intervention network is now at the final stage, with evaluation ongoing of the final tender submission received on 18 September. The Taoiseach has asked Mr. Peter Smyth, the independent process auditor to the NBP procurement to review the process. Mr. Smyth will submit a recommendation report to both the Taoiseach and to me as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and I Environment. This review will take place in parallel to the evaluation being carried out by the Department’s procurement team on the final tender.
For those premises currently awaiting access to high speed broadband, practical initiatives will continue to be addressed through the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to address obstacles and improve connectivity in respect of existing and future mobile phone and broadband services.
Under this Taskforce, engagement between telecommunications operators and local authorities through the Broadband Officers is continuing to strengthen. These Broadband Officers are acting as single points of contact in local authorities for their communities. The appointment of these officers is already reaping rewards in terms of ensuring a much greater degree of consistency in engagements