Thursday, 3 June 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Flexible Work Practices
15. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the status of the national remote work strategy; the details of the implementation of the strategy; the progress being made to ensure that remote working will be a viable option post-Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30177/21]
My question is in relation to the status of the national remote work strategy, the details of the implementation of the strategy and the progress being made to ensure that remote working will be a viable option post-Covid-19.
I raise the issue of remote working. We now have a problem where we have new housing estates being built where we do not have connection to broadband for anything up to 12 months after estates are completed, and in some cases up to two to three years. If we are talking about remote working then surely when building estates we should be looking to have broadband connected at the same time as houses are completed. For instance, one will not get a broadband connection until there is a postal code and there is a gap of seven-to-eight months before a postal code is assigned.
That has not been raised with me previously. In some parts of the country broadband is not available but I would have thought that anywhere a new housing estate or housing development is being built and if there is broadband in the area, it should be connected from day one. It is the fourth utility, as they say, water, electricity, sewerage, and telecommunications, and that is now broadband or fibre. It is something I can take up with the Minister of State, Deputy Peter Burke, or the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien. Maybe it should be a planning condition that it is available early on or from day one, provided it is possible.
The issue raises the assignment of the postal code. Why does it take so much time to have a postal code assigned? Broadband will not be connected until there is a postal code assigned and the postal code is not assigned until the person physically moves into the house. Postal codes should be assigned before houses are completed. It is a simple matter to do. Once someone has signed a contract and the houses are substantially constructed, postal codes should be assigned.
The Deputy is correct. If I understand the technology correctly, there is no reason an Eircode could not be ascribed to a new home or a new building before it is occupied. It is a unique place identifier, not a person identifier. I do not see why that cannot be done.
It is not something that falls under my remit. It is under the remit of the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, but I will certainly follow up on it. It does not make any sense to me and perhaps it is something we can fix easily enough.
If we want to have remote working, then we must have all of the boxes ticked so that we can facilitate it in the fastest possible timeframe. I would urge that these technicalities would be resolved. They can be resolved.