Written answers

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Renua Ireland)
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598. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the status of the proposed 30 megabite broadband network for all houses by 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44731/15]

Photo of Alex WhiteAlex White (Dublin South, Labour)
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The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure that every citizen and business, regardless of location, has access to a high quality, high speed broadband service. This will be achieved through a combination of commercial investments and a State led intervention in areas where commercial services will not be provided.

In July last I published a detailed draft Intervention Strategy for public consultation. Over 40 responses were received in response to the public consultation process and non-confidential versions of these submissions are being published and can be accessed at .

That strategy proposes that the State-funded network must be capable of delivering high-quality, high speed broadband of at least 30mbps download and 6mbps upload. It must also be capable of catering for higher performance in the future so as to keep pace with consumer demand. This will be a specific requirement of the tender and it will be a matter for bidders to select the technology they consider will best deliver the service.

In accordance with EU State Aid Guidelines we must observe a strict policy of technology neutrality in any procurement process. We will set out a detailed service specification, including a requirement to scale up services over the lifetime of the contract, and allow bidders show how they propose to meet these contractual requirements.

Over 40 responses were received following the publication of the NBP proposed Intervention Strategy in July last. Non-confidential versions of these submissions have been published and can be accessed at .

Meanwhile, my Department continues to review the technical and financial detail relating to potential new commercial investment proposals.

I expect to proceed to formal procurement before the end of the year. The Government is determined to ensure that the network is built out as quickly as possible and engagement with industry stakeholders has indicated that this could be achieved within 3-5 years of the contract award.

In this context, the NBP proposes that through the combination of commercial investment and State intervention, 85% of addresses in Ireland will have access to high speed services by 2018 with an ambition of 100% coverage by end of 2020.


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