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Irish Independent - Business Week - - Technology -

(ii) Min­is­ter De­nis Naugh­ten and 15 De­part­ment of Communications of­fi­cials given its own cur­rent fi­bre build­out to 330,000 ru­ral Ir­ish homes and busi­nesses (which are sep­a­rate to the 540,000 premises still wait­ing for the NBP). As of the time of writ­ing, Enet had not ap­proached Eir as a re­place­ment to SSE, even though Eir and Enet are in con­tin­ual dis­cus­sions about other el­e­ments of the NBP, es­pe­cially is­sues around poles and ducts. is state money. So Ire­land’s trea­sury has an added iron in the fire when it comes to Enet’s suc­cess or fail­ure.

Is the NBP cost likely to go up? Yes. Cur­rent in­dus­try es­ti­mates put the cost to the tax­payer at up to €1bn. But the Gov­ern­ment’s ne­go­ti­a­tion power has di­min­ished sub­stan­tially. If it wants to pro­ceed with this process, it may now have to agree to what­ever re­vised cost­ing it placed be­fore it by Enet. Enet’s own costs may go up, given its fran­tic search for an SSE re­place­ment at a late stage. Those costs will likely be passed on to the tax­payer. es­pe­cially at work. Iron­i­cally, EU sur­veys over the last three years con­sis­tently show that when Ir­ish small firms get ac­cess to good broad­band, they crush Euro­pean com­peti­tors on cross-bor­der sell­ing and ecom­merce. It turns out that we’re rather good at do­ing busi­ness on­line when we get the chance. But with a quar­ter of the coun­try’s premises in dead in­ter­net ar­eas, that po­ten­tial may be wasted. One re­cent sur­vey (from Amárach) claimed that one in four ru­ral dwellers have con­sid­ered leav­ing their lo­cal ar­eas for a big­ger town be­cause of lack of in­ter­net ac­cess.

Stakes are high for the 540,000 ru­ral homes wait­ing to be con­nected af­ter SSE with­drew from the plan to roll out the net­work; top right, Communications Min­is­ter De­nis Naugh­ten; right, Enet boss David McCourt

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