If the Government reopens the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan to accommodate Eir's €1 billion proposal, it could potentially lead to a delay of between three and five years to the procurement process, according to the Minister of State for Housing.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Damien English pointed out that Eir was already involved in a tendering process and the price was €2.7bn.

"A lot has changed with their price. We will have to see what is behind that. They were in there fully involved with 16 meetings and over 200 hours of conversations and I don't see any record of them offering this for €1bn."

He added: "Presenting at a committee and tendering for something are two very different scenarios. When they tendered, the price was €2.7bn. When they go to committee it's €1bn."

The Department of Communications will have analyse Eir's broadband proposal, which has come in over the weekend, he said.

"Eir were part of this bidding process. At that stage about a year ago their bid was in or around €2.7bn. What we have to analyse is what's the big difference here, but also we have to find out is it Apples and Oranges? Are they proposing the exact same thing as the National Broadband Plan? I don't believe they are but we have to analyse that," said Mr English.

Asked for its reaction to Damien English's comments that accommodating Eir's proposal could delay the rollout, a spokesman for Eir said "the company could not speculate on how quickly the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, might be able to move."