ISME, the Irish SME Association today (September 27th) expresses its concern at the withdrawal of Siro from the National Broadband Plan. Such a move is a major setback to state broadband scheme, which is vital to personal and business life in rural Ireland. We are extremely concerned that the withdrawal of SIRO from the NBP will undermine the rollout of broadband.
Competition in the delivery of services only works when it is fair competition. The fact that Eir was allowed to cherry-pick a large basket of relatively cheap-to-service customers has negatively skewed the cost base for other competitors.
Unless the Minister is satisfied for the NBP to deliver a highly patchy and variable broadband service, then he must:
Intervene to move the current NBP procurement process beyond its current Stage 3
Invest directly in, or provide significant tax incentives for other providers, to roll out rural broadband networks
Commit to maintaining an open, transparent procurement process. The last ‘Invitation to Participate in Dialogue’ (ITPD) issued by the Minister’s Department resulted in Eircode. Ireland can’t repeat that outcome with broadband delivery.
Commenting on today’s announcement ISME spokesperson David Waldron said“This is a major blow for the National Broadband Plan. This decision by Siro skews the tendering process, rendering it uncompetitive, and far less likely to deliver quality broadband for rural Ireland. The Minister needs to intervene now.”