Earlier this week the Irish Government has signed the contract for the National Broadband Plan with the winning consortium National Broadband Ireland. The competing consortiums had 5 months to come up with the alternative cheaper solution, but they didn´t present an alternative option.
The works are set to start in January and it will take 7 years to provide broadband service to 540,000 premises throughout the country.
The government also published a list of approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local GAA halls in every county in Ireland that will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.
National Broadband Ireland will provide EUR 220 million (USD 243.5 million) in equity and working capital, it will also meet uncapped financial obligations of around EUR 2.5 billion (USD 2.7 billion), excluding VAT, over the period. These include performance bonds, as well as operating, maintenance, upgrade and revenue risks.
The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, EUR 2.6 billion (USD 2.88 billion) of public support for the Irish National Broadband Plan. The scheme will bring high-speed broadband services to consumers and businesses in areas with insufficient connectivity in Ireland.
The new network will be capable of supporting download speeds of at least 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 30 Megabits per second (Mbps). It will also provide access to improved broadband services, which will stimulate the development of a modern digital economy.
The scheme targets areas where no broadband infrastructure offering download speeds of at least 30 Mbps is currently in place, and where no private investor has demonstrated a concrete plan to invest commercially in the near future. The Irish authorities have developed a comprehensive mapping of available infrastructure and carried out numerous public consultations in order to determine the target areas.
The subsidised network will offer wholesale access to all operators on an open, transparent and non-discriminatory basis, and will, therefore, incentivise private investments in the provision of high-speed internet services to households and businesses in the target areas.