Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
Community Development Projects
640. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a project (details supplied) in County Kerry has been made aware of the availability of a nearby facility; if so, if the details of such contacts will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [62896/21]
Officials in my Department have engaged with SpaceX on the Starlink product and potential uses in Ireland, but have had no substantive role in the physical deployment of the company's technology to date.
My department has facilitated SpaceX to present at one of the regular Broadband Officer network meetings and, as a result of that presentation, Kerry County Council and SpaceX agreed to trial the Starlink technology in the Black Valley. I and my officials have watched with interest as that project has developed.
After the Deputy last raised the issue with me through a Parliamentary Question, officials at my department discussed the location with their colleagues at the relevant local authority. As the trial in the Black Valley was limited to a single base station, and the location of that base station had already been agreed, the premises mentioned could not be included. It should be noted that since then the Starlink product has become commercially available in Ireland and may be ordered directly from the company.
Officials at my department continue to engage closely with their colleagues at Kerry County Council on a number of telecommunications initiatives, including supporting the work of the Black Valley Local Telecoms Partnership and other initiatives across the county to support telecoms development. This year I approved awards to Kerry totalling €476,800 for three highly innovative projects under the Our Rural Future Digital Innovation Programme 2021.