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Written Answers - Telecommunications Services

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 155.  Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey  asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  the progress he has made in communicating with the National Roads Authority to ensure that access is provided to its duct network to strengthen the resilience of the broadband network in the south east, as outlined in the recent Forfás report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3016/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act, 2010, which amended the Communications Regulation Act 2002, permits the National Roads Authority (NRA) to make its road ducts on national roads available to facilitate the roll-out of backhaul fibre networks by the industry.

The legislation allows the NRA to make a charging scheme for access to these ducts, subject to the approval of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport — who has policy responsibility for roads in Ireland. The legislation also provides for consultation with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Minister of Finance on this charging scheme. Following this consultation, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport notified the NRA, in 2011, that approval was granted for the NRA’s proposed charging scheme, subject to a number of specified conditions.

Since then my Department has maintained ongoing contact with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the NRA to pursue the objective of making its road ducting available for broadband bearing in mind that the operational arrangements surrounding the granting and managing of access to the ducts are the responsibility of the NRA.

My officials have been informed by the NRA that it intends to shortly publish its policy regarding the use of underground national road capacity by electronic communications network operators.


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