The Communications Committee has heard that a subsea cable to bring fibre broadband for offshore islands would be significantly more expensive, take more time and have similar outcomes to a wireless connection.

10 of the 27 offshore islands contained in the National Broadband Plan have already been connected.

Independent TD Denis Naughten asked representatives from the Department of the Environment if licensing was the major blockage to providing a subsea cable to offshore islands.

Fergal Mulligan, Programme Director at the Department of the Environment said environmental assessments would also be required for a subsea cable, which were lengthy and complicated.

He said a ship to lay cable would cost in the region of €200,000 per day and could take two years to book.

While there currently aren't any plans to lay subsea water and electricity cables for the islands, Mr Mulligan said it would make sense to add a duct for fibre broadband in the event such cables were to be laid in future.