Tuesday 17 September 2019

Subsidy to roll out NBP could rise to €1.5bn, says Eir


Eir chief Carolan Lennon. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Eir chief Carolan Lennon. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Eir says the taxpayer subsidy it would require to roll out the National Broadband Plan (NBP) would potentially rise to €1.5bn.

In a letter sent to the Government, the firm's chief executive gave more detail on the public funds it sought under the taxpayer-funded State scheme.

The company indicated that its "range" of public funding required would range from €500m to €1.5bn.

The higher figure is €500m more than the €1bn it recently promised the job could be done for.

But even this might go up, the company suggested.

The €1.55bn is a "mid-range" figure that excludes Vat and is set against a Government mid-range estimate of €2.1bn excluding Vat.

However, Eir has not given a higher range estimate of the type the Government says it was forced to consider when calculating its €2.9bn (including Vat).

It may add to fears among those calling for the company to be introduced to the process that costs may start to creep up once negotiations with Eir started in earnest.

CEO Carolan Lennon's letter to the Government also reiterated Eir's position that the alternative rollout would be done on the same basis as the company's current fibre broadband network to more than 300,000 rural homes.

It also promised that additional individual costs to householders would be kept in check, with most not paying more than the additional €70 per home over and above the NBP's connection charges

This was in response to Government claims last week that up to 81,000 rural homes could face charges potentially running into thousands of euro under Eir's looser connection plans.

Responding to the letter, a Government spokeswoman said that "it is clear that this new approach has not met" the conditions set out by the Government in relation to rollout conditions in the broadband plan.

She said that the company could not give quality and transparency assurances.

Irish Independent

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