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National Broadband Plan moves a step closer to reality as final tender submitted

Nokia and enet are part of the consortium’s bid.

Image: Shutterstock/taka1022

THE FINAL TENDER for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) has been submitted to the Department of Communications meaning that the rollout of high-speed internet across the country moves a step closer to completion.

National Broadband Ireland, the name associated with the Granahan McCourt led consortium, submitted its final tender for the project which aims to give 750,000 premises nationwide a minimum download speed of 30 megabits per second (Mbps).

This also covers Irish businesses that currently have no access to broadband from commercial operators.

The consortium, which comprises electronic groups such as enet, Nokia, Actavo, the Kelly Group and KN Group, said it hopes that it can install, in some places, internet speeds as high as 1,000 Mbps.

enet, which manages the State-owned Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), will be one of the main firms behind the installation. In addition, Nokia, has been nominated as one of the key technology partners.

National Broadband Ireland will have long term access to open Eir’s 1.2 million rural pole infrastructure despite the firm pulling out of the consortium at the start of the year. 

Eir, having proceeded with its own rural broadband rollout which took 300,000 premises off the list for the NBP, was thought to have been the most likely winner of the tender before it removed itself from the process.

Earlier this year, the Government found itself backing the bidding process as it emerged that a number of high-profile firms had pulled out of the seemingly-lucrative process.

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In the wake of SSE pulling out of the bid at the end of July this year, a spokesman for the Department of Communications told TheJournal.ie: “The NBP remains on track, with a final bid expected from the e-net consortium in the coming weeks. It is intended the procurement process will reach a conclusion shortly thereafter.

“The e-net consortium has reaffirmed its commitment to the National Broadband Plan and timelines around the procurement process. A formal notification from the consortium with regard to structural changes is awaited.

“The Government has allocated an initial €275 million in the Capital Plan (Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021), published on 29 September 2015, for the initial years of the network build-out.”

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