Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (141)

Pearse Doherty


142 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is satisfied with the after sales service provided to customers in the rural areas of County Donegal who find that a company (details supplied) do not have engineers servicing the county; if the modem provided to customers from this company has a power surge arrester fitted; and whether the plugs are fused. [4448/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the after sales service offered by 3 Ireland insofar as the National Broadband Scheme (NBS) is concerned. My Department entered into a contract with 3, a Hutchison Whampoa company, for the delivery of the NBS in late December 2008, following the conclusion of a competitive dialogue procurement process. The objective of the NBS is to deliver broadband to certain target areas in Ireland in which broadband services were deemed to be insufficient. Since October 2010, 3 has made broadband available in all of the 1,028 Electoral Divisions (ED) designated to be covered under the Scheme. This includes 52 of the 149 EDs located within County Donegal.

The NBS contract guarantees service levels and imposes a service credit regime on 3 with financial consequences in the event that minimum specification service levels are not met. Under the NBS contract, specific service level agreement (SLA) standards are in place, which define the service and support levels to be provided by 3 to NBS subscribers.

As part of this SLA, 3 has engaged a team of engineers to address NBS maintenance and service issues. 3 has confirmed that its customer and network field engineers serve the NBS areas in County Donegal, as and where required. The provision of modem and networking devices for the delivery of the NBS is an operational matter for 3 who have confirmed that all such devices deployed in customers' premises conform to the EU Low Voltage Safety Directive insofar as safety of information technology equipment is concerned.

Any NBS customer experiencing problems with the NBS service can contact3's customer care centre 24 hours a day 7 days a week by phone at 1913 (free of charge), via email to or by post to 3 Customer Services, Hutchison 3G Ireland Ltd, PO Box 333, Dublin 2. My Department has a role when customers have fully utilised the established complaints process. It operates a dedicated NBS mailbox, which NBS customers can contact by email with any comments or complaints they may have about their NBS service.