How much the Oireachtas spends on giving home broadband to TDs/Senators

A short while ago the Sunday Times had a story about TDs and Senators not able to get broadband despite wanting to get it. The story covered those who were annoyed at not being able to get it or those who never applied because they knew they were in an area that did not have broadband. ComReg, Dempsey and the other excuse-searchers are now saying lack of demand is the main issue with broadband. People simply don’t want it. Pure bullshit given that so many in the Oireachtas applied for broadband and they wouldn’t be the most astute with technology. The Times story never covered the costs for this project.

A quick summary:
€20,130 installation costs and no modem with this.
€13,000 for project management and install support costs.
Total Project cost: €33,000 ex vat

€65,880 per year for the broadband service itself plus €17,694 for tech support.
Recurring costs: €83,574 a year for the service

Full FOI request below:

Dear Mr Mulley

I refer to your recent request under the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003, seeking access to records pertaining to the tender issued by the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Office’) for the supply of broadband services in the homes or Constituency Offices of Members of the Oireachtas.

In relation to your request, please note the following:

1. Names of the successful bidder/bidders:


2. Details of the tender itself, including the technology used in the provision of broadband:

The solution proposed by eircom (and subsequently accepted by the Office) was the eircom Business Starter broadband service, delivered over standard DSL, using eircom’s existing copper lines. This service provided 2Mbit/s download (later upgraded to 3MBit/s), and 128 kbit/s, thereby meeting the minimum upload requirement, and exceeding the minimum download requirement as set out in the Office’s request for tender (RFT). The contention ratio for this fixed line DSL is 24:1, with service presentation via RJ45 (as required in the RFT), with fixed IP addresses assigned to each site.

The Office did not avail of the Netopia routers offered by eircom, opting instead for a secure router, firewall and switch configuration (supplied by Siemens Business Services under a separate competitive tender process).

3. Details of the project plan

A formal project plan was not devised, although broadband via DSL was provided in a timely manner at sites identified by the Members (i.e. either at their homes or Constituency Offices) on a geographical basis (serviced by local eircom engineers), and also based on the availability of the Members/their staff to provide access to the site. Of the 152 Members requesting DSL/broadband, 122 qualified for DSL, and 30 failed line tests. However, as more exchanges are DSL-enabled, the number of Members provided with DSL/broadband has been increasing over the past number of months.

4. Breakdown of the technology used to supply each Member of the Oireachtas:

Broadband is only provided to Members via DSL (over existing copper lines). Where DSL is not available, the Members may have a PSTN or ISDN connection.

5. Breakdown of the costs – set-up/ongoing:

Set-up costs were €165* per site, plus €13,000* (for the entire project) for dedicated implementation tech support (€5,000*) and project management (€8,000*).

Ongoing costs are €45* per month per site, plus €17,694* for Year 1 Maintenance and Support, and €17,694* for Year 2 Maintenance and Support.

* Note: all costs quoted are exclusive of VAT

One Response to “How much the Oireachtas spends on giving home broadband to TDs/Senators”

  1. Branedy says:

    I was thinking that you had ‘no comment’ on this post, but what can you say? What do they think real broadband competition should cost. I noticed ISDN still being mentioned as a broadband alternative. But never mention the per minute rate that doubles when you use both channels. Sometimes I wonder why when ISDN requires 4 wires into a house, but can’t carry RADSL that only needs two that work. I wonder why many other countries can manage 8 to 15 Kilometer connections, but eircom only manages 5K.