Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Ceisteanna (218)

John Perry

Ceist:

276 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the plans which are in place for the introduction of broadband to Calry (details supplied) in County Sligo. [12018/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

The provision of broadband facilities is a matter in the first instance for the private sector telecommunications companies operating in a fully liberalised market. A number of factors determine where and when broadband services are offered, including the potential number of customers, the level of investment required, etc. I understand that Eircom recently announced plans to considerably extend its DSL broadband coverage in County Sligo by March 2006.

A major factor in the rollout of broadband is the availability of suitable infrastructure. My Department is addressing the infrastructure deficit with the regional broadband programme, under which high-speed open access broadband networks are being built, in cooperation with the local and regional authorities, in almost 120 cities and towns. The Sligo town metropolitan area network is currently under construction. The MANs offer opens access to service providers, who can access broadband speed many hundreds of times faster than those available over the telephone networks.

For smaller communities, such as Calry, my Department administers the county and group broadband scheme, under which grant aid of up to 55% of set-up costs is available. The programme is driven by the broadband needs of the community and addresses those needs by funding the most appropriate broadband technology for each particular application. A call for proposals in respect of the scheme is currently open, and full details can be found on www.gbs.gov.ie