Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1040)

Timmy Dooley


1040. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to his comments on 19 February 2019, if he has met with companies (details supplied) to discuss the impact of commercial roll-outs on the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13740/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I welcome recent announcements of further commercial investment in high speed broadband infrastructure by telecommunications operators. While I have not had direct engagement with either company, officials from my Department have met with representatives of these operators and have received high level presentations from both with regard to their commercial deployment plans.

The National Broadband Plan is designed to encourage investment in high speed broadband networks, so that as many premises as possible are addressed by commercial operators. To date almost 74% of the premises in Ireland are now covered by high speed broadband and this is expected to rise to 77% before the end of this year and these new investment announcements (along with other recent operator announcements) are further evidence of the willingness of industry to continue to invest and improve services to citizens across the country.

While both operators have indicated a willingness to keep the Department appraised of their rollouts as their plans develop over the coming years, they have indicated that they do not anticipate making a formal submission seeking a change to the NBP High speed broadband map. To date, neither operator has published, or provided my Department with, detailed commercial or technical plans identifying individual premises to be served.

In order for premises to be removed from the State intervention area, a commercial operator must make a submission to my Department outlining its plans and commitments to provide these premises with a high speed broadband service. This is consistent with the State aid rules applying to State interventions to ensure the availability of high speed broadband services. Any such submission must satisfy the criteria set down by my Department in the mapping process that was published in 2015 on my Department’s website, before the NBP procurement process commenced. Details of the mapping process are available at the following link: https://www.dccae.gov.ie/documents/Managing%20IA%20Map%2020Consultation%20Paper%20FINAL%2021-12-15.pdf).