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Dáil Éireann, Private Members Business (Fine Gael), 26 - 27 February 2008

"That Dáil Éireann,

  • recognising the growth in the numbers subscribing to broadband services, noting the strong enthusiasm of Irish consumers for broadband services when they are available and acknowledging the potential for next generation broadband;
  • recognising the vital importance of high-speed broadband connectivity for the economic future of Ireland, and accepting that Ireland currently rates poorly against our international competitors on speeds and bandwidth;
  • insisting on the need to adopt a highly ambitious approach to the rapid rollout of next generation broadband, and on the need for government to work with and complement private sector activity to maximise NGA rollout;
  • noting that copper wire infrastructure between exchanges and cabinets nationwide needs to be upgraded to fibre as a matter of priority;
  • noting improvements in backbone infrastructure, but also the need to continually build on capacity and promote competitive pricing;
  • noting the need for further investment in international broadband connectivity and the opportunities that exist in this regard;
  • noting the unavailability of any broadband service in many parts of Ireland, in particular in rural isolated regions;
  • noting the concerns that have been expressed about the potential success of the National Broadband Scheme; and
  • recognising the potential of e-Government services, but noting the findings of the recent Comptroller and Auditor General's report in this regard;

calls on the Government to:

  • deliver on its commitment to provide as a matter of urgency adequate broadband availability to 100 per cent of the population;
  • set clear ambitious targets on average speeds, availability and penetration rates to be achieved within set time-frames in the short and medium term;
  • require the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to report in detail to the Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources every six months on these targets and on Government policy;
  • commit to commencing, as a matter of priority, the following specific steps to achieve rollout of high-speed infrastructure:
  • revise the terms of the National Broadband Scheme to require that it provide a minimum service of at least 3Mbps;
  • undertake an immediate audit of all broadband telecommunications infrastructure under public and private ownership nationwide, in particular an audit of all ducting infrastructure capable of carrying fibreoptic cable;
  • consult with the regulator on achieving 'open access' to all privately and publicly-owned ducting;
  • draw up a detailed plan for state investment to expand on existing infrastructure where market failure exists;
  • build and roll out open-access ducting in appropriate areas while coordinating with private and public sectors;
  • immediately pass regulations to require telecommunications ducting to be installed to all new buildings; to require ducting to be installed in new road developments where appropriate; and to ensure that all ICT-related infrastructure is subject to fast-track planning rules;
  • finance pilot projects in the wireless sector to promote new technologies;
  • prioritise the provision of free Wi-Fi connectivity on all state-owned public transport systems;
  • ensure connection of next generation access to all schools and third-level institutions as a matter of urgency, to complement the Department of Education and Science's ICT in Education Strategy;
  • relaunch efforts to achieve an ambitious programme of e-Government services online, with a clear budget, targets and timeframe;
  • introduce a range of new measures to drive demand for broadband services and IT usage;
  • commission a feasibility study on how to expose elderly and immobile people to the benefits of next generation access."

- Simon Coveney, Enda Kenny, Richard Bruton, Bernard Allen, James Bannon, Seán Barrett, Pat Breen, Ulick Burke, Catherine Byrne, Joe Carey, Deirdre Clune, Paul Connaughton, Noel J. Coonan, Seymour Crawford, Michael Creed, Lucinda Creighton, Michael D'Arcy, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Andrew Doyle, Bernard J. Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Frank Feighan, Charles Flanagan, Terence Flanagan, Tom Hayes, Brian Hayes, Phil Hogan, Paul Kehoe, Pádraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Joe McHugh, Olivia Mitchell, Denis Naughten, Dan Neville, Michael Noonan, Kieran O'Donnell, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, John O'Mahony, John Perry, James Reilly, Michael Ring, Alan Shatter, Tom Sheahan, P. J. Sheehan, David Stanton, Billy Timmins, Leo Varadkar.

[22 February, 2008]