Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment has announced National Broadband Ireland, the consortium led by investment firm Granahan McCourt as preferred bidder for National Broadband Plan (NBP), a high-speed broadband project in Ireland. The project investment is expected to be EUR 2.7 billion (US$ 3.02 billion), far more than the initial EUR 500 million estimate.
National Broadband Ireland will supply broadband to the one quarter of Irish people and premises in rural areas who currently cannot access high-speed broadband through commercial services. It guarantees high-speed broadband connection for 1.1 million people, 540,000 premises including 100,000 businesses and farms, and over 600 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to delivering high-speed broadband. The plan will also include pockets of urban areas where the population was left without a high-speed internet connection.
The network will use the latest fibre-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.
Those 1.1 million people in rural Ireland will get the same opportunities as urban Ireland and will be able to avail of the range of new opportunities that high-speed broadband has and will deliver. Without it, they won't have guaranteed access to these opportunities. It opens up: flexible and remote working, smart health with online GP and nursing services and medical monitoring, cloud-based services and connected devices, smart farming opportunities, digital learning, reliable electronic payments, and bookings.
Deployment of the network will commence immediately once contracts are signed. Over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high-speed broadband within the next four years.
National Broadband Ireland has put together a team with significant Irish experience in large telecoms projects, as well as substantial international, industry experience to deliver the proposal. National Broadband Ireland will be supported by a number of large internationally experienced subcontractors including KN Group, the Kelly Group and Actavo to support the construction phase, eNet as a subcontractor providing co-location facilities and access to the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), Nokia as technology partner and many more local small and medium businesses in the telecom sector.
As required under law, Granahan McCourt has incorporated a new Irish registered company to be known as National Broadband Ireland (NBI) to build, operate and maintain the network.
Following confirmation of State Aid Approval by the European Commission and contract closing requirements, the Bidder will be awarded the contract for the National Broadband Plan.
The plan is expected to be completed by 2026.