The Government of Ireland is set to sign the contract for the implementation of High-speed broadband network PPP under Irish National Broadband Plan (NBP) with the preferred bidder - National Broadband Ireland (NBI) - a consortium led by investment firm Granahan McCourt Capital later this year after financial documents are finalised.
The private partner will design, finance, develop, construct, operate, maintain and exploit a wholesale Next Generation Access network and associated services within the NBP Intervention Area (IA), which currently covers over 750,000 premises. Network will use the latest fiber-to-the-home technology to guarantee minimum speeds of 150Mb/s increasing to a minimum 500Mb/s by year 11 – with customers able to choose packages of up to 1Gb/s. The private partner will install approximately 144,000 km of fibre cable on 90,000 poles around Ireland. It´s estimated that broadband scheme will bring internet to 540,000 properties in rural Ireland which is about 1.1 million people.
The estimated cost of the project is EUR 3 billion (USD 3.4 billion). The estimated cost of the plan rose EUR 300 million (USD 335 million) in the last month.
Other members of the winning consortium are E-Net Corporation, Nokia, Actavo, Kelly Communications and KN Group.
Last week the cabinet has decided to decline a cheaper offer from Eir. Eir was one of the original bidders, but it pulled out of the tender. Later the company presented an offer for a much cheaper alternative - less than EUR 1 billion (USD 1.1 billion). Department for Communications in its statement said that the evidence presented by the telecommunications company showed the proposal was “not a feasible alternative” and that the proposal “did not meet the key objectives” of the Government’s national broadband plan and that it contained material which had already been dismissed during the company's participation in the procurement process. The common consensus was that Eir´s offer is inferior to the offer fo the preferred bidder´s offer.