Written answers

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

National Broadband Plan Administration

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

137. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason for the recent delay in administering tenders for the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9203/16]

Photo of Alex WhiteAlex White (Dublin South, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

On 22 December 2015, I formally launched the procurement process for the State intervention to provide high quality, high speed broadband to all premises in Ireland that may not be served through commercial investment. The formal procurement process commenced with the publication of the Pre-qualification Questionnaire and Project Information Memorandum. Five responses were received from prospective bidders to this stage of the competitive procurement process by the deadline of 31 March.  That deadline was extended by one month, from 29 February to 31 March at the request of bidders.  The responses are now being assessed in line with criteria set down by the Department  with a view to  selecting qualified provider(s) to proceed to the next stage of the procurement.

This second stage in the process will be formal Invitation to Participate in Dialogue (ITPD) to short-listed bidders and is scheduled to commence in June and will take place over the Summer.

The timing of each stage of the procurement is dependent on a number of factors including the number of bidders short-listed and the complexities that may be encountered during the dialogue process.

The number of responses received on 31 March, the complexity of the process, and an earlier extension to the PQQ submission deadline which was requested by respondents, will necessitate an adjustment of a number of months to the anticipated timeframe for tender negotiation and contract award.

I am conscious of the need to deliver the State intervention as a matter of priority and the intention is to build out the network in the AMBER area as quickly as possible. The Department will engage with the winning bidder(s) on the optimum roll-out strategy, and on the sequencing of the network deployment to maximise efficiencies during network build, having regard to business and consumer needs, and to areas of particularly poor service and areas of strong demand. All these factors will need to be balanced against the most efficient network roll-out and will be agreed during the procurement process.

Engagement with industry stakeholders as part of the pre-procurement consultations has indicated that the network in the Amber area could be achieved within 3-5 years, after contract(s) is awarded.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.