Thursday, 28 November 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
National Broadband Plan Administration
48. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if it will be ensured that planned fibre optic broadband proposals agreed to under the national broadband plan will be placed under the ownership of the State. [49054/19]
Five alternative Ownership options were considered in the July 2015 public consultation on the Intervention Strategy for the National Broadband Plan.
In December 2015 two possible ownership options were recommended to government, one of which was the gap funded model (where public funds are made available to make private investment commercially viable). An inter-departmental group was then established to recommend the best way to proceed to assess the most appropriate ownership model.
The deliberations of the Sub-Group were informed by the Department’s financial advisors’ (KPMG) expert report, which provided detailed scenarios of the likely cost to the State of the various ownership options in real and nominal terms. Based on the ownership report from the Sub-Group, the Department recommended the gap funded model, and that was then adopted by Government in July 2016.
Our telecoms infrastructure is almost entirely privately owned and the Intervention has been designed to ensure that as much as possible of the network infrastructure will comprise the re-use of existing poles and ducts, which NBI will lease from existing infrastructure owners.
Infrastructure re-use in this manner ensures the State complies with State Aid guidelines and environmental sustainability best practice. It minimises costs and ensures that the network development is integrated into that evolving system. The model of subsidising the rollout out of fibre rather than owning it was chosen deliberately to ensure the operator would continually invest to deliver to the highest standard.
Ownership of any other network assets procured by NBI will reside with NBI. NBI will be required to manage these assets over the lifetime of the project, and will be liable for the associated costs where network assets are required to be maintained or replaced.