Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Question 342: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide information in relation to the provision of broadband to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42859/10]
Question 343: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide information in relation to the provision of broadband to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42860/10]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 342 and 343 together.
The provision of broadband services is in the first instance a matter for private sector service providers operating in Ireland's fully liberalised telecommunications market. Broadband services are provided by private service providers over various platforms including DSL (i.e. over telephone lines), fixed wireless, mobile, cable, fibre and satellite.
In cases of market failure the Government will intervene, where it is appropriate and possible to do so. The National Broadband Scheme (NBS) represents such an intervention.
Prior to the commencement of the NBS a detailed mapping exercise was carried out to help determine those areas that would be included in the scheme and those which, by virtue of being already substantially served by existing broadband suppliers, could not be included.
EU State Aid and competition rules govern how states can intervene in areas where there are existing service providers operating. Accordingly, the NBS is prohibited from providing a service in served areas where to do so would give rise to an unacceptable level of market distortion.
That mapping exercise found that at least one existing broadband supplier was already active in the area referred to in the Deputy's Questions and consequently the locality was excluded from the Scheme. Details of broadband services available in each county can be found on ComReg's website at www.callcosts.ie.
It continues to be a priority of the Government that there will be broadband coverage across the entire country. However, despite Government and private investment in broadband, I am aware that there continues to be a small percentage of premises throughout the country that will not be capable of receiving broadband services. This is primarily due to technical and other reasons (suitability of a telephone line, distance from an enabled exchange, no line of sight etc.).
The European Commission has set aside a portion of the European Economic Recovery Programme (EERP) funding for rural broadband initiatives. Using this funding, which will be augmented by an Exchequer contribution, I intend to formally launch a Rural Broadband Scheme before the end of this year. This scheme will aim to provide a basic broadband service to individual un-served rural premises outside of the NBS areas.
There will be a competitive process to engage a service provider who will offer a broadband service to qualified applicants under the scheme. While the exact details have yet to be finalised, I expect that the service offered under this scheme would at least match the service offered under the NBS. This process will be technology neutral – it will be a matter for the bidders to decide which technical approach they propose in their bids.
Information in relation to acceptance of applications and the process of qualification under the scheme will be made available in due course when the scheme is launched.
Question 344: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is in a position to provide information in relation to provision of broadband to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42861/10]
Question 345: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide information in relation to the provision of broadband to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42862/10]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 344 and 345 together.
I am informed that the localities referred to in the Deputy's Questions are both covered by the National Broadband Scheme (NBS).
Broadband services are now available from the NBS Service Provider, Hutchison 3G Ireland Ltd (3), throughout the entire NBS coverage area, including the designated Electoral Divisions (EDs) in County Monaghan. A full list of the NBS EDs in County Monaghan is detailed in the table below.
In addition, ComReg's website www.callcosts.ie provides detailed information on the various private sector telecommunications products and services available on a county by county basis, including County Monaghan.
|National Broadband Scheme (NBS)|
|Electoral Divisions (ED) Covered by the NBS in County Monaghan|
|ED Name||ED Reference No.|
|CHURCH HILL ED||177021|