Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (369)

Dara Calleary


369. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to outline his views on whether a person (details supplied) in County Mayo, a national broadband scheme customer, is not receiving an adequate service for the premium; if he will outline the download and upload speeds as recommended by the national broadband scheme provider 3 guidelines; his views on whether the person is not receiving this recommended level of service; his plans to resolve such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24715/14]

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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.

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.

In relation to the customer referred to in the Question, my officials had, directly upon being notified by the customer, contacted the “3” Head Office in Dublin to arrange an investigation into the service issues raised. This investigation initially identified a fault on the mast serving the customer, but as the repair of this fault did not fully resolve the service issues raised '3' arranged for an engineer to visit the customer’s premises. The customer has advised that the service issues are continuing and a further engineer’s visit has been scheduled. My officials will remain in touch with “3” and the customer until such time as the service issues are resolved.