Rural broadband completion dates uncertain, firm delivering State plan says

National Broadband Ireland will tell committee this is due to issues ‘beyond’ its ‘direct control

National Broadband Ireland, the company charged with delivering the State's rural broadband plan, is unable to predict completion dates with "absolute certainty" for thousands of premises awaiting connection around the country.

The company will tell an Oireachtas committee on Thursday that this is due to issues "beyond our direct control", and that it appreciates that this can "cause some frustration when seeking to communicate with stakeholders".

The broadband project has slipped behind its intended timeline for completion due to a variety of circumstances, including the pandemic, and planning laws governing the permitting for poles - called Section 254.

It comes as the Government’s plan to allow workers request the right to work from home - which has already been strongly criticised for coming up short and favouring employers by the opposition - is launched.


Under the work from home scheme, an outline of which went to the Cabinet for approval this week, an employer can cite concerns over the internet connectivity of a proposed remote working location when refusing permission for a person to continue working from home.

The NBI executives will also suggest at the Oireachtas communications committee that awaiting "make ready" works which have to be completed by Eir, the telecoms utility, ahead of their contactors commencing the main works involved.

“As the Eir make-ready works are completed in advance of NBI’s contractors commencing the main works and we incorporate the lessons we have learned in the last 12 months into our planning processes, we are confident that we will be able to provide greater accuracy and predictability in future projects for the programme.”

The opening statement criticises recent media coverage of its shareholder structure, and the nature of the subsidy payment and how it is used by the company. “We are concerned about a series of inaccuracies and/or misleading claims in certain media reports surrounding our shareholdings and broader financial matters - most notably reporting that suggests subsidy payments to NBI were somehow used for reimbursing shareholders for bid costs associated with the tender process”. The company says it is seeking to resolve what it contends are inaccuracies.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times