I welcome today's decision by the European Commission to grant state aid approval to the National Broadband Plan.
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. 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.
Today's decision from the Commission allows the government to proceed towards signing the National Broadband Plan contract with National Broadband Ireland which will commence the roll out of 147,000km of fibre to homes, farms, businesses and schools across our country.
Notes to editor:
The Government appointed National Broadband Ireland (NBI) as the Preferred Bidder for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) in May 2019. Since then officials have been performing the necessary financial and contractual due diligence work needed before a contract can be concluded. This work is progressing.
The area to be covered by the National Broadband Plan includes:
- 1.1 million people
- Approx 100,000 enterprises
- 54,566 farms
- 44,000 businesses
- 695 schools
- All spread across circa 96% of land area