Communications Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2015: First Stage

I move:

That leave be granted to introduced a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Communications Regulation Act 2002 to enact a complaints mechanism for electronic communication services.

This is simple, non-controversial legislation. My aim is to provide the legislative basis and the legislative imperative for this and future Governments to monitor on an ongoing basis the adequacy of Internet, landline and mobile telephone services throughout the State. We need to set up a database where people can log issues with inadequate services. The database will support the communication of the steps involved in resolving those issues. It will collate data to provide an online, real-time overview of the occurrences of so-called blackspots throughout the State.

Sinn Féin and I enthusiastically supported the former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, in this regard and we support the current Minister in his attempts to ensure every person in the State can have access to reliable quality Internet and telephone services. We recognise that such services are as essential as electricity if remote rural areas, in particular, are to survive and prosper. My proposal would not cost an arm and a leg; in fact, it would save money. I am sure the Government has access to a systems analyst who could undertake the analysis, design and programming necessary to create the database and I would offer to help if it is required. It would not require the engagement of management consultants at a cost of tens of thousands of euro, and it would mean that a future Government would not have to engage expensive consultants or depend on service providers for a map of blackspots or problem areas.

Is the Bill opposed?

Question put and agreed to.

Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

Question put and agreed to.