Taxpayers are footing the bill for the rollout of high-speed broadband to thousands of homes and businesses that have already been connected to super-fast services through Eir’s network, according to the Business Post. It reported that the incumbent has passed more than 45,000 premises included in the National Broadband Plan. The paper said the rollout of services to these same premises would cost the exchequer more than €245 million. The news comes as National Broadband Ireland, which has the contract to roll out the plan, has revised its targets after falling behind. The company had intended to pass 115,000 premises this year but has only reached about 17,000 to date. It is now hoping to hit 60,000 by the end of December.
Tech firms granted confidentiality before meeting minister
The same newspaper reported that IDA Ireland asked that no notes be taken during a round-table meeting between the Minister of State with responsibility for digital Robert Troy and tech companies including Apple, Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, Airbnb and Vodafone. The meeting, which was to discuss the forthcoming Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, took place in September. The request for confidentiality, which was done to avoid requests for notes on the meeting under Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation, was granted.
Self-regulation to cost Flutter more than €100m
The Business Post reports that Flutter Entertainment’s plans to tackle addiction among its customers, and stricter regulation, will cost the Paddy Power owner more than €100 million. It quotes research from Davy that suggests revenues from online gambling in Britain and Ireland could decline 6 per cent in 2022 on the back of tighter regulations and the establishment of a gambling regulator here.
Aerogen to launch vaccine delivery system
Galway-based drug delivery company Aerogen is close to launching a vaccine delivery station that can inoculate people safely by aerosol rather than jab. The company has teamed up with a vaccine developer in Asia for the launch. Chief executive John Power told the Sunday Times that vaccines delivered by aerosol could use as little as a fifth of a dose administered intravenously. Aerogen’s technology was used to treat three million patients last year, the paper says.
Aviva’s commercial property fund
Aviva has told investors in its €400 million Irish commercial property fund they can “expect developments in a number of weeks,” the Sunday Times reports. It says the insurer has come under pressure from backers who are frustrated that they must give six months’ notice if they wish to cash out of the fund. Aviva told brokers at a briefing recently that liquidity within the fund was strong, with cash levels at just over 20 per cent of total liabilities. The fund recently sold the Royal Hibernian Way shopping mall for a reported €74 million.
Work permit staff get overtime to reduce delays
Staff at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment are working overtime to help tackle a backlog of applications for work permits as demand for a range of workers increases, according to the Sunday Independent. It says the timeframe for processing permit applications to hire workers from outside the European Economic Area has jumped 50 per cent versus the same period a year ago.
MSD intending to build 6.5MW solar farm in Tipperary
The same newspaper said pharma giant MSD was seeking planning permissions for a 6.5-megawatt solar farm to power its plant in Co Tipperary. The proposed project, which is valued at over €5 million, covers an area of about 7½ hectares near the company’s Ballydine site. If it proceeds, it would be one of the State’s largest solar farms.