At a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications today Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan asked for the department to provide an estimate of the value of the proposed National Broadband Network at the end of the proposed 25 year lifetime of the project. We also asked what savings would arise if every one of the 60,000 additional new houses planned for the intervention area required the provision of fibre option access ducting to the road as a condition of the planning permission.
Eamon Ryan TD said. “We are due to come to some conclusions as a committee within a few weeks and have difficult choices will have to be made. If the project is to proceed then I believe the asset should be retained in public ownership at the end of the intervention period.
“The preferred bidder and department must have an estimate of the final value of the asset given that every other aspect of the deal has been costed to come up with the draft bid.
“I think we should keep open the option of retaining the network in public ownership and we need to know that the cost of taking such an option. There is also a saving to be made in making sure that the builder of any new house covers the cost of ducting at the construction phase rather than putting that cost on the exchequer.
“The Department may argue that altering the terms of the deal at this stage would be subject to legal challenge but given that any variation in the final ownership structure need not effect the rest of the bid we should consider the option. Savings from better planning regulations also need to be retained rather than handed over to the preferred bidder.
“The Committee has asked the department to reply to my request for information by the 1st of August to assist our deliberation process and I look forward seeing their response.”
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