Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 5 June 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment
National Broadband Plan: Discussion
People will find it hard to understand that there is a potential cost to Eircom for stringing a piece of fibre along its poles considering that its own copper wire is already there and the pole must be maintained in good order to facilitate that piece of copper in the first instance. This is an incremental piece but it is hard, from the perspective of many taxpayers, to understand how it could cost €20 a pole or how there could be any cost for maintaining a duct, quite frankly. Of course it is a private asset and there needs to be some compensation or payment made for access to it but €20 seems excessive. People are rightly concerned that the total amount of taxpayers' money going to a private company for the duration of this contract is €1 billion, considering that Eir will have access to the fibre to sell services through to the end user, but that is a separate issue. It is just the cost and I do not profess to have access to the information ComReg has in terms of making that determination. From our perspective, we need to give ComReg an opportunity to provide that information to us and onwards to the taxpayer, who will ultimately pay the bill.