(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