The future of national broadband rollout

 

Sir, – It is difficult to gauge the logic (if indeed there is any logic) to the current spin which Government is now seeking to portray to the effect that all is well following completion of the report which it commissioned on the broadband tender process (Front page, November 28th). This, despite the author’s apparent reference to difficulty in verifying some of the information submitted to him by certain of the parties interviewed.

We are being sold the line that there has been no contamination or tainting of the bidding process as the Minister concerned decided to remove himself from office or was persuaded to so do by his superiors, thus standing aside from the matter. However, this brushes over the question of a number of meetings by the Minister with a senior member of the one remaining bidding entity in the absence of any attendant minute-taking procedures, etc.

With only one bidder remaining at that point, how honest was it to refer to it as an ongoing competitive process? Indeed, how can it still be considered as such?

Surely a well-remunerated senior minister should have had sufficient savvy to not expose himself to such a level of questionable informality in the first instance?

This overlooks the reason why the Minister was even suggesting that there was still a competitive process ongoing with only one remaining horse in the race, which chomping creature, now seems set to pursue its quest for a juicy reward of €3 billion to provide a service to our tiny nation. It would be comforting for the public to be informed of precisely what level of services it is proposed to supply for such an enormous sum of money and what, if any, efforts are being made to examine alternative options even at this stage, for example utilisation of the infrastructure and expertise of entities such as ESB? – Yours, etc,

FRANK SLOWEY,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.

Sir, – As Pat Leahy wrote (News Analysis, November 28th) the Smyth report into the broadband process has indeed concluded rather fortunately for the Government.

The process is, however, now a total shambles with only one bidder remaining.

When projects like this founder, the only solution is to totally re-engineer and start again with a different approach.

Anyone with a modicum of understanding will know that the only technically feasible solution at reasonable cost is that “the last mile” in sparsely populated rural areas should be by wireless.

Despite, no doubt, hundreds of meetings and lunches with officials, regulators and potential providers, this has not yet been agreed. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN FITZSIMONS

BE, CEng,

Portmarnock, Co Dublin.