For months, many have awaited the government’s release of the National Broadband Plan contract. The €3 billion contract was given the green light just a little over 9 months ago, however details of it were kept scarce until now. The government has now published the contract, split across 50 documents, though only 21 of them are in their entirety. The entire contract extends a bit over 1,500 pages, including technical details, “SCP milestones”, and performance details. When the contract was agreed upon, many criticised Fine Gael for their privatisation of the project, as many believed the broadband network should be publicly owned. As it stands, at the end of the 25-year contract, the NBI will own whatever infrastructure is built. Currently, large swathes of Ireland’s broadband infrastructure is owned by Eir.
As part of the National Broadband Plan, those vying for the contract had to show that they would be offering, at minimum, 30Mbps connections to all households designated for for its rollout. The NBI has, however, stated that they will be offering up to 150Mbps connections, with promises of it potentially getting bumped up to 500Mbps.
The documents released by the Irish Government are heavily redacted, and there isn’t a whole lot of info to be gleaned that wasn’t already in the public domain. Key subcontractors have also been outlined in a separate document, though they were already known. As listed in the document, the following companies are considered key subcontractors of the National Broadband Plan.
- NBI Deployment Ltd.
- Enasc Éireann Teoranta (enet)
- Kelly Comms Ltd.
- KN Network Services Ltd.
- Actavo Ltd.
All of the above companies have been provided a role to fulfil as part of the National Broadband Plan. Only NBI, enet, and Eir are considered critical subcontractors as part of the project. There are only three key policy objectives outlined in the contract. The first states that NBPco will provide 100% high-quality, reliable, and affordable coverage to 100% of the premises that are in the “intervention area”, areas designated for work to commence. It must also be consistent with value for money in line with best industry practice, and must also be capable of underpinning Irish Government policy on economic jobs and recovery.
Documents not published including a “termination events” document, along with a “consequences of termination” document. The number of premises to be reached each quarter is redacted, along with a number of key definitions as well.
The National Broadband Plan has already commenced building, and the first premises are expecting to be connected late this year or early next year.