Communications company Eir claims it could have delivered the Government's National Broadband Plan for under €1 billion.

Senior Eir executives will state this when they address an Oireachtas c ommittee tomorrow evening.

The company withdrew from the bidding process over a year ago, saying at the time that the risks had become "too great for its continued participation."

However, it will tell the Oireachtas Communications Committee that after leaving the bidding process it offered to discuss with Government "alternative ways" of achieving the policy objective.

"It is clear to us that we can build rural fibre infrastructure at a lower cost than is currently envisaged in the plans as outlined at the same levels of quality and service as the 300k," the company's statement says.

The 300,000 refers to the roll out of broadband in rural Ireland previously completed by Eir.


Read more: National Broadband Plan - your questions answered


Last month the Government awarded preferred bidder status for the delivery of the NPB to a consortium led by US businessman David McCourt.

The value of the contract is capped at just under €3bn and it aims to provide high-speed broadband to more than 540,000 homes and businesses in rural areas.

Government sources indicated that Eir's €1bn figure does not take account of connecting homes and premises, and is focused only on the placing of fibre technology outside a house or business.

They also believe that the cost of maintaining the network for 25 years is not included in this figure.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications said tonight that Eir's September 2017 draft bid came in at many multiples of €1 billion.

"There were two draft bids received in September 2017 at an advanced stage in the NBP procurement process - one from Eir and one from National Broadband Ireland (who were appointed preferred bidder). Both bids were broadly similar in terms of the level of State subsidy sought, with Eir's bid coming in as multiples of €1bn," the spokesperson said.