Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (114)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

114. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will report on the recent 4G spectrum sale which netted €855m for the Exchequer and if the process has been fully concluded; if any decision have been made for the ring-fencing of the money generated by the sale for broadband or other communications and energy projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9919/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The management of the radio spectrum is a statutory function of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) under the Communications Regulation Act, 2002 as amended.

ComReg recently announced the winning bidders of its Multi-band Spectrum Auction for the 800, 900 and 1800 MHz bands.

The winning bidders will pay €854.64 million for these spectrum rights, comprising firstly of Upfront Fees amounting to €481.7 million (adjusted as necessary by transitional arrangements) and secondly, Annual Spectrum Usage Fees in the amount of €372.95 million which will be adjusted for inflation and paid in instalments until July 2030. The duration of the licences is to 2030.

I can confirm that ComReg transferred the amount of €450M, which is slightly over 50% of the fees, to the Exchequer on Friday 14th December 2012. The remainder of the fees will be paid on an annual basis over the duration of the terms of the licences.

The Deputy may wish to note that fees received by ComReg for spectrum access are transferred directly to the Exchequer in accordance with provisions of Section 30 of the Communications Regulation Act 2002 as amended and do not come under the control of my Department at any time.

Responsibility for the allocation of Exchequer receipts, including the spectrum receipts, falls within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Finance and is not a matter in which I have any statutory role.