Statement in relation
to Procurement Process
Thursday 31 March 2016
The Department notes recent statements in the media in relation to the State Intervention to provide high speed broadband to over 750,000 premises under the National Broadband Plan.
The formal procurement for the State intervention was launched on 22 December with the publication of the Pre-qualification Questionnaire and Project Information Memorandum. Five responses to this phase of the competitive tender process by prospective bidders were received by the deadline of noon, 31 March.
Coinciding with the formal launch of procurement, the Department also published the updated Intervention Strategy and High Speed Broadband Map 2020. These documents clearly define the Intervention Area as comprising over 750,000 premises.
In developing the High Speed Broadband Map 2020, the Department engaged extensively with operators to identify those areas where operators had concrete plans to roll out high speed broadband on a commercial basis. The Department published the process and criteria for assessing commercial plans and made it clear that operators would have to satisfy these criteria and enter into a binding commitment with respect to those plans, before premises could be excluded from the proposed State Intervention.
In this context, the Department assessed commercial plans of 6 operators in 2015, under the published technical, financial and deployment criteria. The Department wishes to place on record that, to date, no company has satisfied all of the relevant criteria and signed a Commitment Agreement in respect of any proposed commercial plans. The High Speed Broadband Map 2020 therefore remains as it was when published in 2015, and the intervention area, therefore, also remains at over 750,000 premises.
The Department is monitoring existing commercial rollout plans to ensure that all of the 1.6m premises, which commercial operators indicated they would complete by end 2016, will have access to High Speed Broadband of at least 30mbps by end 2016.
As explained in the Project Information Memorandum, while the Department does not propose to change the Intervention Area during the Procurement, it reserves the right to do so. In the event that the Department becomes aware of an increase or decrease in planned private sector investment, the Department may review such changes and if it considers it appropriate, it may update the High Speed Broadband Map 2020 and Intervention Area. Any review and change to the Intervention area will take account of public procurement rules as well as State Aid rules and guidelines.
In this way, the Department aims to ensure that all commercial plans are fully assessed and validated, and that the Government's commitment to delivering high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland, is fully realised.