Dáil Éireann - Volume 494 - 30 September, 1998

Written Answers - Communications Masts.

97. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the plans, if any, she has to introduce legislation to ensure mobile phone companies share their telecommunications masts following her review of the rules governing internconnection regulation as promised on 3 June 1998 in Dáil Éireann; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17768/98]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): I will reiterate the points I made in my reply to the question he refers to — Question No. 22 of 3 June 1998.

I fully support the principle of sharing masts and other telecommunications infrastructure to reduce the impact of telecommunications infrastructure on the environment and to promote economic efficiency.

As I explained in my earlier reply, the Director of Telecommunications Regulation is empowered to intervene to resolve disputes over facility sharing among telecommunications operators, including mobile phone companies, under the Interconnection Regulations (S. I. No. 15 of 1998), which I signed into law earlier this year.

A Bill which will provide for an up to date and balanced regulatory regime in the development of telecommunications infrastructure is currently [329] in preparation in my Department. I propose to incorporate in the Bill the facility sharing provisions which are included in the Interconnection Regulations and to extend those provisions to certain other facilities.

The final decision on the contents of the Bill will be made in consultation with my Cabinet colleagues. I hope to be in a position to publish the Bill during the current Dáil session.