I move amendment No. 112:
In page 130, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following:
"130.—(1) This section applies where provision contained in any agreement relating to the use of private property ("property agreement") has the effect of imposing on the occupier a prohibition or restriction under which his choice of—
(a) the person from whom he obtains digital television services, or particular digital television services, or
(b) the person through whom he arranges to be provided with digital television services, or particular digital television services,
is confined to a person with an interest in the building subject to the property agreement, to a person selected by a person with such an interest or to persons who are one or the other.
(2) This section also applies where provision contained in a property agreement has the effect of imposing any other prohibition or restriction on the occupier of the building with respect to a digital television matter.
(3) A provision falling withinsubsection (1) shall have effect—
(a) as if the prohibition or restriction applied only where the person from whom consent is required has not given its consent to a departure from the requirements imposed by the prohibition or restriction; and
(b) as if the person from whom consent is required or other party were required not to withhold that consent unreasonably.
(4) A provision falling withinsubsection (2) shall have effect—
(a) in relation to things done inside a building subject to the property agreement, or
(b) for purposes connected with the provision to the occupier of a digital television service,
as if the prohibition or restriction applied only where the person from whom consent is required has not given its consent in relation to the matter in question and as if they were required not to withhold that consent unreasonably.
(5) Where a provision falling withinsubsection (1) or (2) imposes a requirement on any person not unreasonably to withhold its consent—
(a) in relation to a digital television matter, or
(b) to the obtaining by the occupier of a building subject to a property agreement of a digital television service from or through a particular person,
the question whether the consent is unreasonably withheld has to be determined having regard to all the circumstances and to the principle that no person should unreasonably be denied access to a digital television service.
(6) Any contravention of this section shall be enforceable by the Competition Authority and in civil proceedings by any person affected by this section.
(7) The Competition Authority may by order provide for this section not to apply in the case of such provisions as may be described in the order.
(8) References in this section to digital television matters are references to—
(a) the provision of a digital television service;
(b) the connection of digital television reception apparatus to a relevant electronic communications network or of any such network to another;
(c) the installation, maintenance, adjustment, repair, alteration or use for purposes connected with the provision of such a service of digital television reception apparatus.
(9) This section applies to provisions contained in any agreement entered into before the commencement of this section to the extent only that provision to that effect is contained in an order made by the Competition Authority.".
This amendment relates to an issue that I raised previously. It was sent to me as a possible solution to the problem that I had raised and I would be grateful were the Minister to take on board its points. Essentially, it relates to an issue that has been quite widespread in this metropolitan area in particular, whereby people in apartments cannot use the provider of their choice because of management company agreements. While this might appear to be a basic and simple issue regarding people's rights, it turns out that people do not have any rights and often end up with providers they do not want. Even when people have many complaints in this regard and go to the Competition Authority, etc., it does not appear to make any difference.
I would be grateful were the Minister to accept the principle that people have a right to choose, regardless of whether they live in an apartment or anywhere else. If the Minister does not intend to accept this amendment, he should advise me as to how he proposes to resolve this issue that has been raised by my colleague, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, in particular. He has received many submissions in this regard from both apartment owners and tenants, who cannot ensure that they can have their desired provider. Members are aware that standards of service vary considerably between companies and this issue must be addressed in the Bill.