Donegal public broadband bill will be over twice that of Derry, claims Labour leader Brendan Howlin

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has asked the Communications Minister Richard Bruton why the public cost of providing next generation broadband in Donegal is projected at over twice that estimated for Derry.

Mr. Howlin suggested Dublin’s €3 billion public National Broadband Plan would cost €5,000 per home, while for Belfast’s Project Stratum, the figure was €1,900. He referred to how the same firm was understood to be in the running to deliver both projects.

Differential broadband costs raised in the Dil.

Differential broadband costs raised in the Dil.

“We have also learned that the same preferred bidder, Granahan McCourt, is also bidding for NI’s Project Stratum at an expected cost of €1,900 per home.

"The Government is planning to sign off on a deal that will cost €5,000 per home in this jurisdiction while the same product, by the same bidder and on the same island, will cost €1,900 in Northern Ireland.

“How did the Government manage to preside over a contract negotiation that has allowed the same company to provide the same product at less than half the price in Derry than in Donegal?” he asked.

Mr. Bruton replied: “We have entered into a 25-year contract to design, build and operate this service, which will cost €2.1 billion, plus a contingency of €480 million and a VAT payment which will be recouped by the State.”

A spokesman for Granaghan McCourt said: “As NI’s Project Stratum is a live procurement process, Granahan McCourt is not able to provide comment at this stage.”