Written answers

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Telecommunications Services

9:00 pm

Photo of Arthur MorganArthur Morgan (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Question 326: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when broadband will be available to a company (detail supplied) in County Louth; the measures he is taking to ensure businesses can access broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9523/08]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South, Green Party)
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The provision of broadband services is, in the first instance, a matter for private sector service providers operating in a fully liberalised market, regulated, where appropriate, by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.

There are a number of platforms for delivery of broadband, and service providers are now offering broadband by wireless, satellite, fibre or standard telephone cable and more recently, mobile in many areas of the country. My Department operates a dedicated website, www.broadband.gov.ie where potential broadband customers can ascertain the availability of services in their area.

The role of the Government is to formulate regulatory and infrastructure policies to facilitate the provision of high quality telecommunications services by competing private sector service providers.

The widespread provision of broadband services continues to be a priority for the Government. In that regard my Department has undertaken initiatives to address the gaps in broadband coverage experienced by both business and domestic users. These include providing grant-aid under the recently concluded Group Broadband Scheme and investment in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs).

Although broadband is now widely available in Ireland there are still some parts of the country where the private sector will be unable to justify the commercial provision of broadband services. These areas are being addressed by the National Broadband Scheme (NBS), which will provide broadband services to areas that are currently unserved, including any unserved areas in County Louth, and will ensure that all reasonable requests for broadband are met.

The first phase of the National Broadband Scheme procurement process (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)) is now complete, and four candidates pre-qualified to enter the next phase of the procurement process.

It is anticipated that a preferred bidder will be selected and appointed in June 2008 and that implementation of services commence as soon as possible thereafter.

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 327: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason for the delay in the delivery of broadband in parts of County Monaghan, the consequence of which is denying opportunities for businesses to start up there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9548/08]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South, Green Party)
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The provision of broadband services is, in the first instance, a matter for the private sector. Broadband service providers operate in a fully liberalised market, regulated, where appropriate, by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.

The role of the Government is to formulate regulatory and infrastructure policies to facilitate the provision of high quality telecommunications services, by competing private sector service providers.

The widespread provision of broadband services continues to be a priority for the Government. In that regard my Department has undertaken initiatives to address the gaps in broadband coverage. These include providing grant-aid under the recently concluded Group Broadband Scheme and investment in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs).

Although broadband is now widely available in Ireland there are still some parts of the country where the private sector will be unable to justify the commercial provision of broadband services. These areas are being addressed by the National Broadband Scheme (NBS) which will provide broadband services to areas that are currently unserved, including any unserved areas of County Monaghan and will ensure that all reasonable requests for broadband are met.

The first phase of the NBS procurement process (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)) is now complete, and four candidates pre-qualified to enter the next phase of the procurement process.

It is anticipated that a preferred bidder will be selected and appointed in June 2008 and that implementation of services commence as soon as possible thereafter.

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