RTE, citing comments made by communications minister Denis Naughten in the Dail, says that the government has received a tender from the sole remaining bidder for Ireland’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) – although it also revealed that there have been notable changes to the consortium that remains in the race. The minister confirmed the application from the group, which is somewhat confusingly calling itself National Broadband Ireland, and which is led by private investment firm Granahan McCourt, rather than local alternative broadband provider enet – although the latter is listed as a partner in the venture and will reportedly act as ‘an integral part of the ongoing operation of the network when built’. Other partners in the National Broadband Ireland consortium have been named as Nokia, Actavo, The Kelly Group and KN Group. In addition, RTE notes several other amendments to the consortium’s make-up: following the departure of energy utility company SSE in July this year, it was replaced by Irish Infrastructure Fund, only for the latter to now also no longer be listed as a part of the bidding group in its own right. Irish Infrastructure Fund does, however, own 78% of enet.
Mr Naughten noted that the remaining bidder for the NBP has had to meet the relevant thresholds set out in the procurement process and said the bid would now be evaluated by a team of around 80 people, claiming that the ‘the procurement process has been, by necessity, complex and thorough’.
Ireland’s NBP aims to connect 542,000 premises across the country that currently do not have access to a high speed broadband connection, which the government describes as one with a minimum speed of 30Mbps downstream and 6Mbps upstream. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in September 2017 SIRO withdrew from the NBP tender process, while eir followed suit in February 2018, leaving the then enet-led consortium as the sole potential bidder.