A report carried out by the Oireachtas Committee on Communications has recommended that the broadband network infrastructure remain in public ownership.
The Government has said the contract for the National Broadband Plan will be awarded to Granahan McCourt later this year.
[The report says Granahan McCourt will recoup its money within seven to eight years and retain full ownership, while at the same time the State will have invested almost €3 billion with no ownership rights]
In the report, the committee has recommended that the Government commission an external, independent review on whether its proposals and the costs are the only viable option.
It also says a new cost-benefit analysis should be carried out before the final national broadband contract is signed.
The committee also says the Government should re-engage with the ESB to examine the best model for delivery of a new plan through the ESB.
The report concluded that the original terms of the tender were too narrow.
Committee recommends broadband network remain in public ownership (RTÉ)
David McCourt with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a Science Foundation of Ireland event in New York, March 2018
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment is sitting in private session today to discuss the National Broadband Plan and vote on a number of proposals in respect of the same.
It follows the committee carrying out an investigation into the plan and, in May, the Government awarding preferred bidder status to consortium Granahan McCourt, led by US businessman David McCourt.
Journalist Aisling Kenny told RTÉ’s News at One that chair of the committee, Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton wants the committee to support her recommendation that the Government press ahead and sign the contracts as soon as possible.
Ms Kenny reported:
“She [Naughton] says there is no evidence to indicate any reliable, cheaper alternative to the National Broadband Plan.”
Ms Kenny also reported that other proposals include recommending that the State own the broadband infrastructure – after it spends €3billion on the plan.
Currently, it’s planned that, in the end, Granahan McCourt will own the infrastructure.
Ms Kenny reported that the committee’s final conclusions should be made public later this afternoon.
Committee vote due on State ownership of broadband network (RTE)
Listen back to News at One in full here
Previously: “There Should Be Judge-Led, Public Inquiries Into The Broadband Plan And The National Children’s Hospital”