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Written Answers - Telecommunications Services

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 157.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  if he will review a matter (details supplied) regarding broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3075/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The provision of electronic communications services, including broadband services, is in the first instance, a matter for private sector service providers operating in Ireland’s fully liberalised telecommunications market. Decisions relating to the provision of broadband services are commercial matters for the commercial service providers.

Neither I nor ComReg, the telecommunications regulator, have statutory power to compel any service provider to offer higher levels of broadband service at any particular location, nor is it appropriate for me to intervene in relation to private sector investment plans.

Under the NewERA proposals in the Programme for Government, there is a commitment to co-invest with the private sector and commercial Semi State sector to provide Next Generation Broadband customer access to every home and business in the State. The Next Generation Broadband Taskforce which I convened last summer has an important role to play in this regard. It comprises the CEOs of all of the major telecommunications companies operating in the Irish market, as well as CEOs of some other companies that provide broadband services. The purpose of the Taskforce is to discuss and report on policy issues and proposals in relation to the provision of high speed broadband across Ireland. I expect that the Taskforce will help to identify how best to deliver wider customer access to high-speed broadband generally and thereby assist in delivering on the commitment in the Programme for Government.

The Taskforce will conclude its deliberations shortly. It is my intention to consider the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report of the Taskforce and to move quickly thereafter to put in place the optimal policy environment for the delivery of high speed broadband.

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