Written answers

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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215. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if directives have been issued to ComReg with regard to the roll-out of 5G technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6110/19]

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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216. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of on the roll-out of 5G technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6111/19]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

5G, as the fifth generation wireless technology, is still under development and is expected to be commercialised over the next few years. Roll-out of infrastructure to facilitate 5G services in Ireland is primarily a matter for private mobile network operators, operating on a commercial basis. I do not have statutory authority to require commercial companies to roll-out services or infrastructure. Mobile network operators function in a liberalised market in Ireland, regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), who is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions.

The provision of mobile telecommunications services generally (including 5G services) is subject to a requirement to secure a wireless telegraphy licence to access the required radio spectrum. The management of the radio spectrum is a statutory function of ComReg under the Communications Regulation Act 2002, as amended. This role includes the allocation of radio spectrum, the award of spectrum licences and the associated application of terms, conditions and obligations to those licences.

Whilst ComReg is independent in the exercise of its statutory functions, I do have the power to issue policy directions to the Regulator under the 2002 Act, reflecting my responsibility for policy for the sector. I have not issued and currently do not propose to issue such a policy direction in relation to the issue raised by the Deputy.

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