Further delays to rollout of rural broadband plan
The National Broadband Plan is facing further delays - with regional authorities being informed that construction work may not begin until the middle of next year.
Executives in rural development authorities have been told by Department of Communications officials that "shovels in the ground" are now unlikely to happen in the first three months of 2018.
Instead, it now looks like physical construction will not commence before the summer and possibly autumn.
Few of the waiting 540,000 rural homes and businesses will get broadband next year.
Two remaining shortlisted companies for the contract, Eir and Enet, are bedding down into a detailed competitive tendering process.