The consortium that will be responsible for delivering the Government's National Broadband Plan has said it has a proven track record in managing the rollout of national telecoms networks. 

National Broadband Ireland (NBI) said it had built 24 such networks in Ireland, Europe, the US and Central America and had delivered hundreds of thousands of kilometres of fibre across 56 projects. 

The consortium said it had brought together a team with significant national and international expertise in designing, building and operating large-scale telecommunications networks. 

In a statement, David McCourt, the founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt which is leading the consortium, said NBI was delighted to have been appointed preferred bidder to deliver what he described as life-changing infrastructure. 

"With this new network, rural premises in Ireland will finally have access to high speed broadband - which has become a 21st century necessity," he said. 

"Over the past 30 years, our people have led the funding, financing and management of over €40bn in infrastructure assets and we're proud to bring this experience and knowledge to this broadband plan." 

NBI said over 40 specialist contractors, including Nokia and enet, had been nominated as part of NBI's procurement process to fulfil key functions of the NBP rollout. 

"The NBP is a complex technical project that will take time and requires major investment  but once built it will future-proof Ireland for generations," said Peter Hendrick, NBI chief executive. 

"Within the first year, we will have successfully delivered to community locations in the intervention area, and in year two, we will have successfully connected homes in all 26 counties."

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Ibec, the group representing Irish business, has welcomed the Government announcement on the NBP, describing the delivery of high-speed broadband as vital for the development of the regions. 

In a statement, Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy added that "as Ireland enters the mature phase of its business cycle with the economy close to capacity, investing in vital infrastructure ... is critical in helping to insulate the economy against future downturns". 

Chambers Ireland said access to reliable high-speed broadband is an economic necessity and that "a community without broadband today is as disconnected from the wider economy as the communities without electricity were in 1945".