The Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, has defended a decision to re-allocate funds for the rollout of broadband to Sustainable Energy Ireland.

Fine Gael has criticised the move saying it will delay the provision of high-speed Internet access across the country.

Supplementary estimates for the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources show €10m from the National Broadband Scheme is being re-allocated.

Mr Ryan says the money is being re-routed because a decision on which company would operate the scheme will not be made until next year.

He says he is absolutely committed to ensuring there is nationwide high-speed web access and that has he just re-allocated unspent funds.

The minister says the broadband scheme will be fully funded when it is up and running.

A department spokesman said the re-allocated funding would go towards SEI's Greener Homes scheme.

He said negotiations on the National Broadband Scheme were ongoing with four short listed companies and a final decision is expected by the middle of next year.