National Broadband Plan goes ahead as ‘preferred bidder’ appointed

The National Broadband Plan has received the green light from the Government today, Tuesday, May 7, following cabinet talks this morning.

The Government approved the appointment of a preferred bidder to the National Broadband Plan.

Following the tendering process, there was only one bidder left – the Granahan McCourt Capital consortium, which has been successful in securing the project, expected to cost €3 billion over the next 25 years.

This decision will ensure every home, farm, school and business in Ireland will have access to high-speed broadband – no matter where they are located, according to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

The “transformational scheme” will bring high-speed broadband to 1.1 million people – every home, business and farm, the department added.

The move will make Ireland the “first country in the world to ensure that those in rural areas have the same digital opportunities as those in urban areas”.

Last month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed to the Dáil that the project could cost as much as €3 billion over 25 years.

However, reservations have been voiced to the project’s tendering process, both by members of the opposition and officials in the Department of Public Expenditure, according to RTÉ.

Speaking on Tuesday, April 16, the Taoiseach said: “Without Government intervention, approximately 540,000 homes, farms and businesses will not have access to high-speed broadband. That is why Government intervention is required.

It is not a small number of people and it is not a small number of homes. It is 540,000 homes, farms and businesses and over one million people and it will require the laying of 100,000km of fibre.

“It is a huge project when looked at in that way.

“The cost, including VAT, contingencies and so on could be in the region of €3 billion, albeit spread over 25 years.

“It is a huge project of huge scale,” he told the Dáil.

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