Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Communications, Brian Stanley had it confirmed at an Oireachtas Committee meeting by Analysys Mason that the entire National Broadband Plan (NBP) was derailed by Fine Gael in 2017 when it allowed Eir to cherry pick 300k homes right in the middle of negotiations.
Analysys Mason spent three years as the central technical advisor to the Government on the NBP and described Fine Gael’s contract with Eir in 2017 as a “double whammy” which “was not consistent with what the bidder needed” and led to a substantial increase in the cost of the project.
Speaking after the committee, Deputy Stanley said: “It was confirmed to me by the Governments technical advisor on the NBP that the decision to allow Eir to cherry pick the 300k most easy to reach homes in the Intervention Area banjaxed the entire NBP.
“Two years ago, I told the Government that this would derail the project and that is exactly what has happened. That decision has had a huge material effect on the process and resulted in a huge economic impact.
“Analysys Mason described it as having a double whammy effect. First of all the contract forbids the State from using Eir’s network, which means the State will now have to roll out its own network side-by-side with Eir’s in order to reach the 540k remaining difficult to get to homes which Eir rejected,” he said.
Deputy Stanley went on to say that the contract prohibits the State from ever being able to create revenue from the 300k homes which Eir cherry-picked even though the State network will be side-by-side. Eir have now expanded this area to 340k homes.
“Just when you thought that the NBP couldn’t become any more of a fiasco, Analysys Mason provide us with these further revelations outlining how the NBP was essentially sabotaged two years ago by Fine Gael’s deal with Eir. And how that decision by Fine Gael will have long term material and economic consequences for any State broadband plan that emerges,” he concluded.