Thursday, 24 January 2019

Ceisteanna (7)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

7. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the meetings he has held with the Taoiseach on the national broadband plan. [3374/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan aims to ensure access to a future proofed, high speed broadband service to every premises in Ireland. The plan involves a mix of commercial investment and a State-led intervention. It has acted as a catalyst in encouraging a significant level of investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure by commercial operators and is a key priority for Government. As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have had a number of conversations with the Taoiseach and other members of Government on the areas within my remit, including the National Broadband Plan. These meetings have included discussions on the progress of the ongoing procurement process to appoint a company to deploy the State Led Intervention network.

The NBP has also been the subject of formal Government consideration at key milestones in the procurement. Notably, the Government approved the launch of procurement in December 2015. Government also approved the proposed ownership model in July 2016. In addition, Government was provided with updates to the process for their information, such as the Commitment Agreement signed between the Department and eir in April 2017 to provide access to high speed broadband to 300,000 premises mostly in rural Ireland.

The bidder for the State led intervention procurement process submitted its final tender in September 2018. My Department's assessment of this bid is now progressed to its concluding stages. My priority is to bring the process to a fair and impartial conclusion as quickly as possible and it is intended to bring a recommendation to Government in the coming weeks.

Questions Nos. 8 to 14, inclusive, answered orally.