Govt to decide future ownership of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan network

4 Jul 2016

The Irish government will decide this week whether it will own the network at the end of the 25 year contract or if it will be owned by the contract winners

The future ownership of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan network after the 25-year contract is completed is to be decided by the cabinet of the Irish Government tomorrow (5 July).

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications confirmed that the decision on who will own the network after 25 years will go before the Government cabinet tomorrow (5 July).

The plan in its initial state has two scenarios for final ownership after 25 years: the network will either be owned by the State or by the members of the private consortium or consortia that win the contract

Future Human

Priced at €275m and approved by Government to 2020, the National Broadband Plan is Ireland’s ambitious plan to deliver broadband to some 1.8m citizens who live in areas currently not served with broadband services.


The plan aims to provide a minimum, future-proofed 30Mbps service to more than 750,000 postal addresses, including 1,522 primary schools, 80,266 farms and 64,440 non-farm businesses.

The plan covers more than 96pc of national landmass and will send broadband down over 100,000km of the existing road network. In terms of people, this will benefit 688,000 members of the active labour force, including 214,000 white-collar workers, 139,000 farmers and some 62,226 SMEs.

As stated above, there are two options on the table as regards ownership. The first option is a full concession model that will see the network revert to State ownership after 25-years.

A gap-funded option will see the winning bidder or bidders retain ownership of the network at the end of the 25 years.

The network, which will be mostly fibre and wireless where necessary, could be a priceless asset after 25 years as 38pc of the working population of the country could be relying on it to support their livelihoods.

“It is going to cabinet tomorrow,” a spokesperson said.

Broadband image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years