Irish fixed line incumbent eir has announced its decision to withdraw as one of the bidders from the National Broadband Plan (NBP) tender process. In a press release, the telco said that since being shortlisted as a bidder 18 months ago, it had ‘worked through the formal dialogue channels to try to ensure that the NBP not only delivers on the policy objective of providing high speed broadband throughout Ireland, but that it does so in an efficient and cost-effective manner’. Now, however, citing ‘significant commercial issues and complexity within the tender process’, along with a ‘growing uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues that reside outside of the NBP process’, the eir board has decided the risks are too great for it to play a role in the NBP.
Nonetheless, the operator has said it aims to continue playing a part in delivering high speed broadband, and claims it will support the NBP process through commercial access to its infrastructure. It noted that in the past five years it has invested EUR1.6 billion (USD1.9 billion) in improving its network, and now claims to be able to deliver high speed broadband to some 1.7 million premises. Further, eir has stressed that it remains committed to completing the rollout of services in rural Ireland as per the contract it signed with the government in April 2017; under this, the telco has pledged to deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps to 300,000 rural homes and businesses.