Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (160)

Billy Timmins

Question:

160. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding broadband in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15474/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The broadband service contracted under National Broadband Scheme (NBS) is a basic, affordable product in keeping with EU State Aid clearance for the Scheme. Under the terms of the contract which my Department has in place with “3”, the NBS service provider, the NBS mobile wireless service is required to offer minimum download and upload speeds of 2.3Mbps and 1.4Mbps respectively, subject to a maximum contention ratio of 18:1. The NBS satellite service, which is utilised in a small number of cases for technical reasons associated with the location of the premises, offers minimum download and upload speeds of 3.6Mbps and 384 kbps respectively, subject to a maximum contention ratio of 48:1.

As regards service quality, my Department has well-established monitoring arrangements in place to ensure that the NBS delivers the minimum specified service or better to all users. The NBS contract guarantees service levels and imposes a service credit regime on “3”, with significant financial consequences in the event that minimum specification service levels are not met. The NBS contract also provides that where NBS customers do not receive the minimum guaranteed service, as set out in the terms and conditions of their contract, they are entitled to service rebates. I note that the person referred to in the Question has contacted 3's customer care centre but is not satisfied with the response received. My Department has a role where customers have fully utilised the established complaints process and consider that their complaint has not been resolved. My officials operate a dedicated NBS mailbox, which NBS customers can contact by email at nationalbroadbandscheme@dcenr.gov.ie, with any comments or complaints they may have about their service. My Department will then liaise with “3” personnel at its Head Office in Dublin to remedy any service performance issues.

Upon receipt of the details outlined in the Question, my officials made contact with this NBS customer and have forwarded the details of the complaint to "3" who will commence an investigation into the issues raised relating to reliability of service. It is, however, noted that the speeds referred to in the Question are well within the contractual specifications of the Scheme. My officials will remain in touch with “3” and the customer with a view to resolving the service issues.