The government of the Republic of Ireland has confirmed that a decision on the future of the country’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) will not be made this week, despite previous indications that a pronouncement would be made before Easter. According to local news source The Independent, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, revealed that the matter would not be considered by Cabinet this week, although he reportedly stressed: ‘But I can assure you that there’s no intention to drag out this process. There is a determination to reach a decision in a timely way but it is an important decision and it is one that we’re determined to get right.’
With just a single bidder remaining in the tender process for the NBP – National Broadband Ireland, a consortium led by US businessman David McCourt – Bruton was cited as saying that due diligence was being carried out on this bid, and while this was said to be ‘close to completion, he added more time was needed to give it further consideration.
Meanwhile, in a separate story published by The Independent, Ireland’s Taioseach has apparently confirmed that the government now expects the NBP to cost around EUR3 billion (USD3.4 billion), up from previous estimates of EUR500 million. However, the head of state rejected criticisms of the projected increase in costs, arguing that the original expected budget was for a ‘very different project’; specifically, with the original estimate said to have been based on bringing optical fibre to 11,000 towns and villages, the current scope of the project is to reach 540,000 homes, farms and businesses with high speed fibre connectivity.