The Department of Communications has released minutes of a June meeting involving Denis Naughten, senior officials from his then department, businessman David McCourt and other members of the consortium that he is leading which is seeking to secure the National Broadband Plan contract.

Mr Naughten resigned from his role as minister for communications yesterday after details emerged of his private dinner meetings with Mr McCourt.

The minutes show Mr Naughten began by saying he had been updated by his department on the progress of the NBP contract process.

He said he understood from that update that discussion on the draft contract was nearing a conclusion and that the bidder was adopting a conservative position in respect of potential costs and potential revenues.

He told the bidder that this would have the likely result of the consortium seeking a level of subsidy for the NBP that he, as Minister, could not recommend to Government.

He also warned that the Secretary General of the department, as Accounting Officer, would not be able to recommend the subsidy as representing value for money.

According to the minutes, one of the representatives of the bidder responded by outlining the factors which were impacting on the approach of the consortium.

The representative put particular emphasis, the note says, on the deployment of the "make ready" programme, the cost of deployment to the 540,000 premises and unknown construction risk, along with uncertainty around preparing retailers.

The minutes then describe how the Secretary General of the department commented strongly on his understanding from the National Broadband team around the level of conservatism being adopted by the bidder in developing its model.

He also pointed to the positions taken by the consortium on the expected level of take-up and predicted new house builds.


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Mr McCourt then assured the minister that his company, Granahan McCourt, which is leading the consortium, continued to be committed to the project and that his team needed to take a view on the range of issues before them.

Other representatives of the consortium also spoke and communicated their commitment to the project, the note says.

There was also a wider discussion around the high-level design of the network, construction risk and demand risk.

The meeting ended, according to the minutes, with the Secretary General of the department asking the bidder to reflect on its position and then come back to the NBP procurement team as soon as possible with its position.

The note says that bidder agreed to do this. The meeting took place on 26 June.