I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) procurement process and Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May. This is an important step towards achieving the overarching goal of the National Broadband Plan, which is to provide access to high speed broadband to every home, farm, school and business in Ireland, no matter where they are located.
The Government decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to National Broadband Ireland (NBI), subject to contract close, including the finalisation of financial and legal documents. A period of final due diligence on all elements of the contract is part of the normal conclusion of a procurement process.
NBI will be supported by a number of experienced subcontractors and is currently tasked with finalising negotiations on contracts with approximately 40 subcontractors to assist in the delivery of the NBP. In order to support deployment it is anticipated that a subset of approximately 15 to 20 of these subcontracts will be required prior to contract close. The State Aid notification in relation to the NBP will also be submitted to the European Commission.
It is anticipated these elements will require a number of months, with contract close expected later this year and deployment commencing shortly after that.