Concerns raised on effect of commercial broadband on NBP

Concerns have been raised about the impact of recent announcements by both Eir and Imagine on the intervention area for the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

The Fianna Fail spokesperson on Communications, Timmy Dooley, has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, to urgently clarify the effect that extending the commercial broadband area will have on the intervention area for the Government’s NBP.

Deputy Dooley’s concerns come as yesterday (Wednesday, February 13), Imagine announced plans to cover 400,000 homes, while Eir announced plans which will cover 80,000 – 100,000 homes in the 540,000-premises intervention area.

The state intervention focuses on areas where there is no existing or planned commercial network. This non-commercial high-speed broadband area is called ‘The Intervention Area’.

Deputy Dooley explained: “The NBP roll out can only cover areas in which no commercial operator is in place.

This week’s announcements are obviously welcome news for the many homes and businesses throughout rural Ireland, but they raise even more questions about the future of the NBP.

“The minister needs to urgently clarify the impact of these announcements on the tendering process.

“Previous reductions to the intervention area have already led to changes in both the scale and price of the project. These announcements must surely do the same.”

Concluding, deputy Dooley said: “Operators moving into rural Ireland to provide broadband is a good thing for those communities. However, for those homes in which a connection will never be commercially viable, these announcements will only raise further concerns.”