A target schedule for the delivery of the National Broadband Plan will be revealed "as quickly as possible", according to a spokesperson for the Department of Communications.

More than 540,000 homes and businesses around the country remain without access to high-speed broadband.

Every home and business is intended to have high-speed broadband by 2020 under the Government plan.

The updated schedule follows newspaper reports that the Government is preparing to announce a new delay to the broadband roll-out.

The Irish Independent reports that it would push back new rural broadband connections until 2020 at the earliest.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications said the target schedule will be published following the conclusion of the ongoing procurement process.

They said that the priority of the Government is to bring that process to a conclusion as quickly as possible.

The final tender received from the remaining bidder on 18 September is currently being evaluated.

However, the Government is also waiting on a report considering any implications for that procurement process after meetings between former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and businessman David McCourt or his representatives.

Mr McCourt's firm, Granahan McCourt, is part of a consortium bidding for the State broadband contract.

Mr Naughten resigned after it emerged that he had met Mr McCourt a number of times while the procurement process was continuing.

Consultant Peter Smyth is carrying out that independent audit.

Fianna Fáil Communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley TD has said the reports will cause even more worry and concern in the rural communities up and down the country.