Sir, – What was the point of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment examining the National Broadband Plan (NBP) when the Government has consistently stated that the preferred bidder will be awarded the contract for the NBP later this year?
Having received a damning report from the committee, you’d expect the Government to review earnestly its plans before charging blindly ahead with an exchequer commitment of almost €3 billion towards the biggest capital project in the State’s history.
Members of the committee complained that there was “no Plan B” option.
Notwithstanding that, I made a detailed submission which centred on the delivery of broadband using next-generation low-Earth and very high-throughput satellites. Over the next few years, thousands of these satellites will be placed in orbit to provide high-speed broadband to rural areas worldwide. These developments were completely ignored by the committee, notwithstanding that upwards of $20 billion will be invested by firms associated with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and other global tech leaders in this new market which will be eventually worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Unless there is a change of political heart, it is likely that Ireland will be digging up roads and stringing fibre across fields at great cost to taxpayers while satellite constellations are orbiting overhead and offering high-speed broadband services to rural households at competitive rates and at zero cost to the exchequer. – Yours, etc,