National Broadband Plan will cost the taxpayer over €2bn


It would seem that

  1. Based on a 25% takeup within 3 years
  2. 45% takeup within 10 years
  3. 60% takeup at peak, 15-20 years hence.

**The National Broadband Plan will cost the taxpayer over €2.5bn in taxpayer subsidies by the time the contract expires in 25 or 30 years time. **

At least these are the numbers shared with me today. Of the €2.5bn a full €1.1bn will be payable by 2022 and the rest as ‘availability payments’ over the lifetime of the contract. You could therefore argue that €1.1bn will be capital expenditure and €1.4bn will be current expenditure over 20 years. The current expenditure is frontloaded into the 2020s too.

Lest anyone query the takeup, the existing eir rural fibre rollout which focuses on more affluent rural areas and which now passes around 200,000 premises has a takeup of around 20% and a blended availability of 1 year (IE the average premises passed by this network has been able to order for a nominal year, some for longer and some more recently).

In my area it is around 30% takeup but you cannot order it off Vodafone or Sky who have a lot of the home broadband market nowadays and I do have 4g or 3g options from all mobile providers where I am. Many households will stay with mobile because it is very cheap, even if it is basically unusable in the evening and weekends when the students are home. :slight_smile:

I personally don’t think the state should commit to anything other than the €1.1bn build cost out to 2022 and after that Denis O’Brien and his mates in the bidding consortium had better carry their own risk if they are in any way competent at all. :frowning:


Sky are currently testing on the Eir FTTH network and look to be about to offer it.

Actavo is just one sub-contractor which will carry out the work for the winning bidder, National Broadband Ireland. Actavo has no equity in the bid.


a quick spot of inflation and now over €3bn … 3?mode=amp


How far away is the technology to get decent and reliable broadband from the sky or via masts? Are we about to invest billions in a system that will be redundant in less than 10 years?
Any techie heads here able to clarify?


Fibre is the future, wireless is the needed infill for when you are out and about, the sky (or satellite) is pure snakeoil.

Fibre *can never be obsolete *as it can be upgraded by swapping the optics at each end pretty much ad infinitum. Spectrum will always be limited and spectrum expansion in recent years has mainly been about robbing TV spectrum off RTE.

**The fastest fibres actually deployed in Ireland today carry 13 Terabits, that is 13,000 Gigabits, each. **

A single fibre has more capacity, now and using cheap optical gear, than the largest satellite ever built to supply broadband. The choice in the short medium and long term is fibre, fibre or fibre. If your mobile mast does not have fibre (that is most of them in Ireland today) then it congests brutally every evening and especially if you are a customer of 3 who overload their network to a crazy degree.

4G cannot handle congestion issues, 5G is pure snakeoil with all sorts of BS claims being made. :slight_smile:


But after 5G, there will be 6G in 5 or so years. And on and on.
Surely the technology will advance to give decent broadband through the air?


“Donutting” the population centers. How is/was that allowed?

How it’s done in the UK…

The farmer who built her own broadband

IMHO we need a proper broadband strategy and rules to allow that to happen. Forget about the “plan”, Gov should use this rule book + carrot/stick.


the technology is there for fiber broadband, its been around and tested for before those of us under-45 have been born.


But most of the arguing about rural broadband is in areas where there won’t be any congestion because the population density is so low.

That said, I don’t really understand how it’s economic to deliver a mains electricity connection (dangerous high voltage) but not a simple data fibre. And on that subject, I have an ESB cable running over my back garden on poles, and next year they’re going to sling a fibre along it too. Presumably part of the issue here is that investment by small broadband providers isn’t going to happen when they’re operating in the kill zone of the likes of ESB.


A misconception. Of the 540,000 premises in the National Broadband plan the majority are in or very near an urban or semi urban area and less than half are in sticksville.

In County Dublin alone, *[there are 10,022 * ( premises deemed to be ‘so rural’ that they are included in the National Broadband Plan. My brother, who lives inside the Galway City Boundary, is in the National Broadband plan and he can see a fibre on a pole outside when he stands at his front door.

Rural County Dublin is far too densely populated for any wireless solution…plus it is very flat in parts and some cunt went and planted a line of trees in the way. :slight_smile:

But they are not going to give you the option of obtaining a fibre based service from that fibre.


I am a bit confused. My 20 euro a month mobile dataplan in Ireland (uncapped) provides a noticeably higher bandwidth in some very deep rural places in Ireland than my $40 a month mobile dataplan (capped) in most parts of San Francisco. And the moment you leave the City, forget it. So even if you are trying to stream 1080p video unless you are up a mountain somewhere or very very deep into the back of beyond my experience of mobile broadband in Ireland is that is more than adequate for any tradition (non business) PC broadband access. And even for business access unless you are serving multiple high res video streams I really cannot see you maxing out most 4G coverage in Ireland. And if you are doing that then co location close to a backbone makes a lot more sense.

So unless there is a capacity problem at the cell towers or a problem with bandwidth / active supported clients per tower it sounds like just another boondoggle. I have seen some capacity problems in Ireland at certain times of the day and in certain locations but on the whole its has very rarely caused problems. In a US city like SF these problems are a given. Anything close to theoretical max bandwidth is very rare. The default is heavy load and very bursty performance. I have watched a live 720p stream of the morning news from a LA TV station while on a DART with no noticeable artifacts whereas the same feat on, for example, a MUNI streetcar in SF or even on LA Metro Rail, would be quite an achievement.

In Ireland using my phone as my main PC broadband access point for work is completely practical. And very cheap. Something that is not true even in the “most high tech” cities in the US. Unless you want to spend some very serious money. And even then you are often out of luck. Its at best a not very reliable backup to wired broadband. Which is slow and very expensive. But thats another story.


Oh no. Sadface!

The ESB dude who was doing the survey said they would run a fibre connection to the house, but maybe he was just saying that so I wouldn’t unleash my chihuahuas on him.

Is this (fibre-to-the-building) not what SIRO is about?


Yes and no. ESB Fibre can be ‘town to town’ or ELSE it is SIRO which is urban FTTH…to the premises.

If you are in a rural area it is likely that the fibre they run will not be available to you while if you are in an urban area or on an urban fringe it should be available to you if your town is listed on the SIRO site.

There are “some” areas where it stonks. I live relatively near Galway and once the students get home in the evening the 3 4G goes to hell on a handcart. If I lived out in the wilds of Connemara the students might not come home every evening and the degradation would then be less.

3 4G tests at 50mbits+ in the daytime and less than 10mbits in the evening at my gaff, I have a 4 bar signal at all times at home (day or night) so christ knows what some poor gom with his 1 bar coverage gets a mile away. :slight_smile:

My 1Gbit fibre connection, OTOH, never degrades and I ping servers in Dublin at 8ms day or night.

c::\Users\3Pack>ping -t

Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=8ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=12ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=7ms TTL=57
Reply from bytes=32 time=11ms TTL=57

Ping statistics for
Packets: Sent = 15, Received = 15, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 7ms, Maximum = 17ms, Average = 8ms


Yeah, the FTTH is the dogs bollocks, despite the Eir DNS massacre last week.
It is incredibly consistent and the good upload speed means google can capture all my data without slowing me down.


SIRO FTTH is equally good. If you add up all the premises passed by FTTH in Ireland around 400,000 out of the total of 2.5m premises in Ireland are now covered, by the 2 FTTH operators, Eir and SIRO and their coverage is increasing at well over 10,000 a month now. FTTH will hit 20% national coverage next year. After that milestone I personally expect a significant slowdown in the Eir and SIRO rollouts whether the NBP happens or not. Virgin have a tiny FTTH rollout too, I mean tiny. perhaps 10,000 premises in pockets here and there.

HOWEVER these FTTH networks are not available in the main cities except for smidge of SIRO in Limerick and a smidge of eir in Dublin. It is only available in tier 2-3 towns and in villages and in rural areas.


You change the DNS in your router to Google or OpenDNS

Much better service, they are free - but they have a cost.


Yes, but I was away at the time, and the router is locked down to that sort of messing so explaining it over the phone wasn’t really an option! :slight_smile:
Mrs. YM was delighted with the internet blackout for a day :smiley:


You may also change the router dns to cloudflare, . Opendns cloudflare and google are in the INEX which means they are all ‘in’ Dublin in network terms so DNS response is very fast from all three. I think opendns is in AWS actually. Also near the INEX is Quad9 dns which is on and which additionally supports DNS over TLS if you point at port 853 instead of the default port 53 for enhanced privacy.

Quad9 has no logging, cloudflare has very little.

eir DNS goes tits up at least twice a year in my experience.


Newstalk Breakfast had a feature this morning and according to eir, the rural uptake is currently running at 1 in 7. And that’s in the more densely populated rural areas.

I spent a lot of time this summer in a very rural part of the West of Ireland and did a bit of work from home to keep things ticking over. I used a vodafone dongle and was well able to log on to my work network, deal with emails etc.
We were also able to use the dongle for surfing on both mobile phones and tablets.

I’m not feeling good about a €2bn roll-out of fibre despite some of the assurance provided on these pages and the cons of mobile bband as set out. I think we’re about to embark on an enormous white elephant


In the end, this is a housing issue. The technical issues are complex but the real problem is that no politician will admit the obvious: our rural settlement pattern, with houses scattered across the countryside and not in villages, makes it impossible to get everyone in Ireland on broadband. Most of the 500,000 premises are one-off houses and not farms.

The political commitment is impossible to fulfill (it is also uneconomic of course - the commercial operators are already rolling broadband out wherever it is economically viable). Any rational level of charges will deter many households in rural Ireland who will rely instead on mobile, wifimax, satellite or whatever. In parts of Ireland the population density is so low that the cost of laying the fibre would exceed the value of all the houses it could serve (and many of those households will not take it!).

There has been no cost/benefit analysis and there are no figures of how much end-users will be charged but it is obvious that, unlike e.g. electricity , take-up of broadband will be very price-sensitive. In some ways, this is comparable to the Irish Water story where, for decades, the politicians pretended that the service was cost-free and made a mess when they tried to rationalise it. No surprise, that take-up of broadband in rural areas is reportedly very low: … 13131.html