Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (471, 472, 473, 474)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

588 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources why Kinnegad and its environs were not included in the broadband rollout; and if he will have this situation reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1167/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

590 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will investigate an ongoing problem with an inadequate Internet service in Kilross, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1257/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Perry

Ceist:

604 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no broadband technology in Enniscrone, County Sligo; when facilities will be put in place to allow Enniscrone to compete in the future with other parts of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1735/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

613 Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if broadband telecommunications infrastructure will be provided in Kingscourt, County Cavan, in view of the substantial employment in that town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2040/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 588, 590, 604 and 613 together.

The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private companies operating in a fully liberalised market, regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation. The Government recognises the importance of a balanced regional roll-out of broadband, and is taking a series of initiatives to support and complement investment by the private companies operating in the market.

An indicative €200 million has been set aside for the current programme of broadband infrastructure developments under the NDP 2000-2006. This includes funding for 19 metropolitan area networks in towns and cities across the country, the extension of digital subscriber lines by Eircom and Esat BT, the construction of a third national fibre trunk network by the ESB, and other regional broadband investment initiatives. In my recent announcement of the broadband action plan I outlined the proposals to stimulate broadband-capable infrastructural investment throughout Ireland. The key elements of the plan include the provision of broadband infrastructure in over 90 towns with a population of 1,500 people using community broadband exchanges and strategic fibre. A new group broadband scheme — similar to the group water schemes — is proposed for smaller communities to pool their demand and secure high speed connectivity from a range of service providers, with grant assistance from the Government under this scheme. A multiannual budget of €140 million has been committed to the broadband action plan in partnership with the local authorities and in co-operation with the telecoms industry here. Operational details for the broadband action plan are being finalised, and I expect to be able to make a full announcement shortly.

It is of course possible to obtain broadband services in most places in Ireland at the moment, using one of the satellite and wireless service providers such as Amocom Satellite, Digiweb, Media Sat, South West Regional Authority or appliedDot Solutions Ltd. A full list of approved providers can be obtained fromwww.comreg.ie or by telephoning 01-804 6900.