Friday 18 October 2019

The Big Tech Show: Wires crossed – Richard Bruton and the National Broadband Plan

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton
Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

This week, Adrian sits down with Richard Bruton, the government Communications minister at the centre of the state’s €5bn plan to run subsidised fibre broadband to every one of 540,000 rural homes and businesses in the country.

He establishes for the first time that the value of the finished rural broadband network will only be a fraction of the €3bn the state is subsidising.

Diving deep into some of the issues around the controversial rollout, Adrian asks Minister Bruton some other key questions about the current state of the broadband tender, including:

1. SUBSIDIES – did the government’s subsidy rise when Eir pulled out of the National Broadband Plan tender competition, leaving only one bidder?

2. WHAT THE NETWORK IS WORTH TO THE BIDDER – how much does the government value the completed broadband network and is it giving this asset away too cheaply to a private company, Granahan McCourt?

3. PROFITABILITY – how much is the bidder ‘allowed’ to make under the agreed broadband operation?

4. FAILSAFES – what does the bidder have to fail at for the state to legally claim the network back?

5. FINANCE – how much responsibility does the state take in checking up on how the bidding company is financed, including the source of that finance?

6. SECRECY – why can’t more detail on non-sensitive issues, such as the rate of return the bidder is allowed to make, be disclosed?

7. TAXPAYER VALUE – what was the difference, if any, between the bids of Eir and Granahan McCourt?

And much more. For anyone with an interest in Ireland’s biggest ever communications contract, this is required listening.

The Big Tech podcast in proud association with Magnet Networks, connecting businesses virtually, anywhere in Ireland.

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