Dáil Éireann - Volume 612 - 15 December, 2005
Written Answers - Employment Protection.
Mr. Morgan Mr. Morgan
 205. Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the measures he is proposing to take to ensure that a high end cable ADSL link is installed to protect the crucial jobs at a company (details supplied) in County Donegal; if assistance will be given to this company. [39690/05]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband, is a matter in the first instance for the private sector companies operating in a fully liberalised market, regulated by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.
Technological advances have brought broadband to the forefront of communications in just a few years, but the service providers have not risen to the challenge to deliver the service in all areas. Market forces and the availability of suitable infrastructure and backhaul, will determine whether a company offers broadband in any area.
A principal reason for the slow rollout of broadband services generally has been the lack of investment by the private sector in suitable infrastructure. My Department is addressing the infrastructure deficit by building open-access metropolitan area networks, MANs, in 120 towns and cities nationwide, in association with local authorities, using Government and European regional development fund funding under the National Development Plan 2000-06. MANs have already been completed in Gaoth Dobhair and Letterkenny, while MANs for Buncrana and Carndonagh are at the planning stage.
Other initiatives, such as my Department’s group broadband scheme, are delivering broadband to many underserved areas, including 16 locations in County Donegal. The broadband for schools project is moving ahead rapidly and will see broadband connectivity in every primary and post-primary school by early 2006. The rapid spread of broadband availability resulting from these initiatives should provide the stimulus for private sector companies to promote their services more actively.
The Government recently directed Departments to examine what could be done to alleviate the employment situation in County Donegal, with particular focus on infrastructure development. Officials from my Department have since met with representatives from Donegal County Council as well as local interest groups and are currently examining a number of options.
I understand that the community networked services, CNS, project, which is funded by INTERREG IIIA and the International Fund for Ireland, is due to be completed in 2006. Further  details can be requested from the promoter at their website www.ernact.net.
My Department’s website, www.broadband.gov.ie, gives full details of broadband availability in all areas, including ADSL, cable, fibre, satellite and fixed wireless. The website also lists prices of the various service levels on offer and contact details for each service provider.
Dáil Éireann 612 Written Answers Employment Protection.