Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (294)

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

294. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding broadband. [11567/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The broadband service contracted under National Broadband Scheme (NBS) is a basic, affordable, scalable product in keeping with EU State Aid clearance for the Scheme in September 2007. Under the terms of the contract which my Department has in place with Hutchison 3G Ireland Ltd (trading as “3”), the NBS broadband service has been available to all premises within the designated 1028 Electoral Divisions since October 2010. All persons with a fixed residence or fixed business within these designated Electoral Divisions are eligible to avail of the NBS service and can do by contacting "3" either by phone, online or at any of the authorised retail outlets located nationwide. Under the terms of the NBS contract, the service costs €20.32 per month, with a maximum once-off connection charge of €50, and these rates apply regardless of the channel chosen to avail of the NBS service.

Customer acquisition is an operational matter for “3” and I understand that it is standard industry practice to request relevant payment information in connection with the commencement of post-pay contracts. Service providers, as part of their product offering, may offer additional devices such as wi-fi routers and other hardware to enhance the customer's experience. Any such offerings and pricing structures are operational matters for "3” and not one in which I have a function. Officials in my Department have however spoken with "3" and confirmed that the company does run promotions for telesales and web customers where discounts can be offered for wifi devices and other hardware. The price of these promotions are not governed by the Department's contract with "3" which relates to specific NBS areas and services only. "3"'s customer service centre is based in Mumbai, India and customers who are in any doubt can contact "3" via its dedicated customer care line that is advertised on its website to confirm that such offers are valid.