Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Ceisteanna (561)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

561. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason estates in an area (details supplied) have no landlines, broadband or radio signal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52845/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

As the Deputy may be aware, the provision of telecommunications services, including mobile phone services, is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), as independent Regulator. I do not have statutory authority to require commercial companies to rollout services and make specific investments in particular locations.

ComReg consumer helpline is accessible at consumerline@comreg.ie and I would urge consumers who feel that they have not received an appropriate response from service providers to make contact with the Regulator.

ComReg has designated eir as the universal service provider of basic fixed line telephone services, which includes, among other things, an obligation to provide a telephone service in response to any reasonable request at any fixed location in the State.

In relation to mobile coverage, ComReg has developed a national outdoor coverage map (available at this link), which can help consumers choose the network provider that best meets their needs for where they live, work and travel. ComReg has also published the results of tests carried out on mobile/smartphone handsets currently available in Ireland (available at this link). These findings will further allow consumers to make informed decisions based on the handsets which best address their needs. These actions arose from discussions of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, established in 2016.

To address the fact that commercial operators acting alone will not provide a high speed broadband service to over 23% of our population, the Government has intervened in the market. The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

Courtbrack is located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.