Eir’s claims that they could complete the National Broadband Plan to every home across the country simply do not add up and only created confusion, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has said.
Senator Lombard, who sits on the Oireachtas Communications Committee, said this evening that Eir claim they can design, build, operate, upgrade poles and ducts, as well as pay VAT for €1bn.
“When Eir submitted a draft bid to the Department, their bid was comparable to Granaham McCourt according to the Department. Eir had every opportunity to win this contract, but ultimately decided to pull out. Why say now they could have completed the State project?
“At a Communications committee meeting today, Eir admitted they would collect €1bn from National Broadband Ireland under the National Broadband Plan. This is for the rental of poles and ducts and includes €900m to upgrade the pole and duct network to allow fibre to be rolled out.
“If Eir say that it will cost them €900m to upgrade poles and ducts, that leaves just €100m to design, build out 147,000km of fibre, operate the network and maintain it for 25 years in the most remote parts of the country, as well as paying VAT, This is simply fanciful stuff altogether,” Senator Lombard said.
“Eir also say they did not want to set up a seperate company to roll out the National Broadband Plan. This was an obligation placed on every company that participated. Given the large amount of public money involved, we would not be taking the necessary steps to protect the state to go for a light touch oversight model.
“Ireland has had bad experience in the past in relation to protecting the public interest, without strong contracts and oversight being put in place, which are vital to protecting a competitive market environment,” Senator Lombard said.