The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) has published a consultation document, which sets out how its high-speed broadband map will evolve, including during the procurement phase of the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
Under EU procurement rules, the high-speed broadband map is required to help ensure that State provision of broadband infrastructure doesn’t crowd out planned commercial investment. It does this by establishing the extent of planned commercial investment up to 2020, and by verifying that commercial operators will fully implement their planned investment.
The Department intends to publish a revised map by the end of this year, following a comprehensive review of evolving commercial investment plans. The three-week consultation announced today will seek industry views on how the High Speed Broadband Map is to be managed in the NBP procurement, pre-procurement and post-procurement phases.
The NBP will provide high-speed broadband access to every home, school and business in Ireland by 2020, with 85% covered by 2018. The State intervention element of the plan will provide high-speed broadband access in areas where it is not commercial for private operators to invest alone. It will go to tender by the end of 2015 and a contract (or contracts) will be awarded in mid-2016.
Minister White said: “This consultation is an important element of the National Broadband Plan because changes in industry investment plans could affect the number and location of homes and businesses in the State intervention area. This consultation is part of the NBP programme and it will not prevent us from meeting our implementation deadlines.”
Minister White also highlighted the publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) on the NBP State intervention. The PIN, which is being published on the e-tenders website and in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), will inform potential bidders across the EU about the Government’s intentions regarding the NBP State intervention.
The closing date for submissions to the consultation process is Wednesday 11 November, 2015 at 5.00pm.