‘Every home, farm, school and business will have access to high-speed broadband’
Every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high-speed broadband – no matter where they are located – following the Government’s decision to approve the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
These were the sentiments expressed by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton during Dáil proceedings last week after he was asked by Fianna Fáil’s deputy Michael McGrath to explain the steps that have been taken towards negotiating a contract with the preferred bidder of the plan.
The minister also pointed out that under NBP, Ireland will become one of the first countries in the world to ensure that “those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas”.
I recently brought a recommendation to the Government to confer preferred bidder status on Granahan McCourt.
He continued: “They are the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and the Government agreed to this at its meeting on May 7.
“The Government decision means that it is intended to award the state intervention contract to National Broadband Ireland – subject to contract close – including the finalisation of financial and legal documents.”
Rolling out the plan
Meanwhile, Minister Bruton added that National Broadband Ireland will be supported by a number of experienced subcontractors and is currently tasked with finalising negotiations on contracts with approximately 40 subcontracts to assist in the delivery of the NBP.
It is anticipated that a subset of approximately 15 to 20 of these subcontracts will be required prior to contract close to support deployment.
“The state aid notification relating to the NBP will also be submitted to the European Commission,” Minister Bruton continued.
“A period of final due diligence on all elements of the contract is part of the normal conclusion of a procurement process.
“The department’s specialist team, supported by expert advisors in legal, procurement, commercial, technical and financial areas, is working to close the contract at an early date.”