It is understood that the Government is, this morning, Tuesday, November 19, meeting to finalise and sign-off on the contract for the National Broadband Plan.

The contract is set to be offered to National Broadband Ireland, and will be followed by the planned roll-out of 147,000km of fibre to homes, farms, businesses and schools across the country.

The confirmation is expected to be announced later today, and follows a period of “financial and contractual due diligence work” to lay the ground work for the contract.

Last Friday, November 15, Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, announced that the European Commission had granted state aid approval for the National Broadband Plan.

Commenting on Friday, the minister said: “The National Broadband Plan will deliver high speed broadband to 1.1 million people, almost one quarter of our country.

“Without high speed broadband it will be significantly more difficult to attract new jobs to rural areas and develop new enterprise opportunities and it will be more difficult to retain the jobs that currently exist in these areas,” he added.

High speed broadband will allow remote working, which can ease congestion and reduce emissions. It will ensure that the digital revolution happening in education, healthcare, farming and tourism does not bypass rural Ireland.

“We will make sure that rural Ireland is not left behind,” Minister Bruton argued.

The area covered by the National Broadband Plan includes: 1.1 million homes; around 100,000 enterprises; 54,566 farms; 44,000 businesses; 695 schools; and around 96% of the country’s land area.