The Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, T.D. announced today that his Department has launched a tender for experts to assist in the design, planning and procurement of a State-led investment in high speed broadband, as envisaged in the Government’s National Broadband Plan.
The National Broadband Plan commits to a minimum of 30Mbps, and where possible, higher speeds to all parts of Ireland, through a combination of public and private investment. The consultants will be required to assist the Department to identify those parts of the country where the commercial market will not be investing in high speed broadband. Also, they will assist in the negotiation of a commercial agreement whereby the State will incentivise one or more telecoms companies to roll out high speed broadband (at least 30Mbps) to those areas which would not otherwise benefit from fast broadband.
Commenting on the tender announcement Minister Rabbitte said “there are parts of Ireland where there is strong competition for fast broadband which is great. In the coming years, we expect one million homes to have access to high speed services, in some cases with speeds as high as 150Mbps. New investments in upgrading fixed line infrastructure, and the roll out of 4G services as a consequence of the recent multi-band spectrum auction will make a considerable impact on the availability of high speed services in many areas. However, my concern is to ensure that less densely populated areas will also receive very fast broadband so as to ensure balanced regional competitiveness and good access to on-line facilities – for business, entertainment, education, health and other on-line services. The Government is firmly committed to this objective and the appointment of consultants to help prepare the necessary procurement, is an important first milestone for delivery.”
The tender is being published today on the etenders website, www.etenders.gov.ie <http://www.etenders.gov.ie>