Thursday, 7 March 2019

Ceisteanna (197, 198, 199)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

197. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he was informed regarding the escalating costs of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11448/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

198. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he informed the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the increasing costs of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11449/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

199. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the national broadband plan will be many multiples of the original budget as confirmed recently; the basis of this confirmation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11451/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 to 199, inclusive, together.

Due to the unique nature of the National Broadband Plan, which involves the deployment of a modern future proofed high speed broadband network to an area involving approximately 96% of Ireland's landmass, the nature and cost of the solution required to deliver the State intervention network could only become known through extensive engagement with bidders during the procurement process. I have been clear that the level of State subsidy for the National Broadband Plan State intervention would be determined through the NBP procurement process.

Prior to the launch of the procurement process for the National Broadband Plan State intervention my Department undertook a public consultation on the NBP State Intervention Strategy. A preliminary cost benefit analysis (CBA) was also completed prior to the launch of the procurement, in line with the Public Spending Code. This CBA has been updated at key points during procurement.

I am regularly briefed by my officials on the NBP. I understand that the cost of the solution proposed by the bidder is significantly higher than that anticipated prior to the extensive engagement with bidders that has occurred in developing the necessary solution. The NBP procurement process has determined what the cost of delivering high speed broadband to every premises in the Intervention Area would be. This will in form the recommendation to the government before it makes a decision to appoint a preferred bidder.

There has been ongoing engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the final bid. This has included a consideration of costs.

The outcome of the ongoing due diligence in relation to the final bid will inform Government’s decision on the NBP procurement.