Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 07 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Telecommunications Services.
Mr. P. McGrath Mr. P. McGrath
Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the funding available under the national broadband scheme for projects in County Westmeath who are awaiting the roll out of broadband to their areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8995/07]
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 Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, the independent regulator.
However, it has been clear for some time that the sector has failed to invest at the level necessary to keep pace with the demand for broadband. My Department’s regional broadband programme is addressing the infrastructure deficit by building high-speed open access broadband networks, in association with the local and regional authorities, in the major towns and cities.
Furthermore, I am aware that, despite Government and private investment in broadband, there are areas of the country where the private sector is unable to justify the commercial provision of broadband connectivity. Accordingly, I have announced a new scheme, which will aim to provide a broadband service to these areas. This scheme will be confined to areas of the country that are not yet served by any broadband service provider and will, when it is fully rolled out, ensure that all reasonable requests for broadband from houses and premises in these unserved areas are met. All elements of the proposed scheme are currently being considered and work on the design of an appropriate tender is under way. It would not be appropriate to estimate the cost of this scheme as the services will be procured under a tendering process.
Dáil Éireann 633 Written Answers. Telecommunications Services.