National Broadband Ireland signs NBP contract

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and David McCourt, National Broadband Ireland
Minister for Communications Richard Bruton with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and David McCourt, National Broadband Ireland

Rollout will take seven years to complete

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19 November 2019 | 0

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and David C. McCourt, founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt, have signed the contract awarding the tender for the National Broadband Plan to National Broadband Ireland. Work is expected to begin in early January.

Granahan McCourt became the preferred bidder earlier this year following the departure eir, Siro and Imagine.

The seven-year plan is expected to cost €2.7 billion, far in excess of the initial €500 million costing from 2012.

National Broadband Ireland’s plan will provide access to nearly 1.1 million people across 540,000 premises, including farms, businesses and schools.

Whilst most of these are in rural Ireland, it will also include urban areas where pockets of the population have been left without such access.

More than 40 specialist contractors have also been nominated as part of NBI’s procurement process to fulfill key functions of the rollout. These include the KN Group, Kelly Group, Actavo, 4Site and Nokia and are expected to create 650 jobs over the next 12 months.

National Broadband Ireland’s deployment will include delivering high-speed broadband to almost 300 connection points within the first year, at community locations identified and selected by broadband officers in local authorities. The facilities will include community halls, libraries, GAA facilities and other public spaces.

“The National Broadband Plan is a momentous infrastructure project to empower rural Ireland, which – until now – has remained significantly underserved by high speed connectivity,” said McCourt. “

“We want to see residents and businesses thriving in rural parts of the country, and ensure they have a bright and sustainable future, with the same opportunities as those in urban areas. It’s our mission to put an end to the digital divide nationwide.

“This critical infrastructure will rejuvenate rural communities by creating jobs, driving advancements in education, healthcare and business, and giving every person in rural Ireland the opportunity to live and work, where they are from. It’s a project that puts Ireland on the world stage and will enable the country to continue to punch above its weight as a leading global economy.”

NBI chief executive officer Peter Hendrick said: “Our experienced team with the best and brightest minds in telecoms from Ireland and around the world, has spent almost four years working on all the NBP requirements, delivering detailed network design and build plans.

“We can’t wait to get out on the ground, delivering this essential utility across large tranches of Ireland that currently have no access to reliable high speed broadband. It will be a game-changer.”

Michael Ring, Minister for Rural & Community Development, said: “Internet access affects almost every aspect of the way we live and work today.

“It will enable the diversification of rural economies and will provide businesses with opportunities to create new jobs and to access new markets.”

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