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Department provides clarification in light of media reporting on National Broadband Plan

 4 July 2017

Responding to recent commentary in relation to the National Broadband Plan DCCAE wants to clarify that the National Broadband Plan procurement process has not been paused and is continuing in parallel with commercial deployment of high speed broadband by commercial operators. The factual position is set out below:

 

  • The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a Government policy initiative which aims to deliver high speed broadband to every citizen and business in Ireland. The National Broadband Plan's ambition is to achieve 100% coverage of high speed broadband across Ireland. This will be achieved through a combination of accelerated commercial investment by telecoms operators, together with a State intervention to deliver access to high speed broadband to those parts of the country where there is no certainty that the commercial sector will invest.
  • The Government's National Broadband Plan has been very successful in encouraging increased levels of investment by commercial operators. This in turn means that more people will have access to high speed broadband at an early date and also reduces the number of premises to be included in the State intervention.
  • Responding to questions in the Dáil last week Minister Naughten referred to the fact that in 2016 only 52% of premises in Ireland had access to high speed broadband and that because of the Government's commitment to the National Broadband Plan by the end of 2018 this will rise to at least 77% of premises.
  • Currently eir is rolling out high speed broadband, predominantly fibre to the home (FTTH), to over 300,000 premises in rural Ireland. This rollout is the subject of a Commitment Agreement between eir and the Minister, whereby eir has committed to building high speed broadband infrastructure to serve these 300,000 premises and as a result these premises will not be included in the State NBP intervention.
  • Having regard to the commitments from commercial operators, including the eir 300,000 rural rollout, the map for the State Intervention area has been finalised at 542,000 for the remainder of the NBP procurement process. That procurement process is continuing in parallel with the rollout of infrastructure by commercial operators. Building the NBP State intervention high speed broadband network will commence after the NBP public procurement process has concluded and a contract, or contracts have been awarded.
  • The NBP procurement process is being managed intensively by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and following detailed engagement with bidders through a competitive dialogue process, bidders were recently invited to submit their Detailed Solutions in September. This represents a major milestone in the procurement process. The Detailed Solutions stage of the procurement process is the final stage before moving to Final Tenders.
  • The NBP procurement process is complex and the overall timing remains dependent on a number of factors including the time required by bidders.
  • The Departments interactive High Speed Broadband Map is available at www.broadband.gov.ie and anyone will be able to check if they are in a commercial or State Intervention Area by using their eircode. 

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