Sunday 20 October 2019

National Broadband Plan faces 'existential threats', PAC to hear


Stock picture
Stock picture
Plan rejected: Seán Bolger’s company was not included in NBP process
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) faces "existential threats", according to Seán Bolger, the chief executive of Imagine Communications Group.

Mr Bolger is to make the claim when he appears before the Dáil's spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), this morning.

The NBP process has been beset with delays and difficulties.

The PAC will today examine the NBP and will hear from representatives of BT, Eir, Enet and the Regional Internet Service Providers' Association, as well as Mr Bolger.

PAC chairman Seán Fleming said TDs will want to discuss challenges that broadband providers see in the delivery of high-speed broadband to rural Ireland.

Mr Bolger is to tell the committee that his company's own plans for rolling out broadband were rejected by the Department of Communications in 2015 and were therefore not included in the NBP maps. He is to claim that there are now "a number of existential threats to the NBP process".

His opening statement raises concern over changes to the make-up of the last remaining consortium in the process. He will refer to two bidders in the NBP process dropping out "apparently on the basis they could not make a commercial business case".

His statement says this leads to the conclusion there will be either "a significant risk to the successful roll-out of the network and/or that there will be a significant increase in the final cost".

Irish Independent

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