Dáil Éireann - Volume 663 - 14 October, 2008

Written Answers. - Telecommunications Services.

Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the broadband projects completed in Dublin north over the past two years; the areas in which they have been completed; the upgrades and installation of new broadband infrastructure planned for the next two years in the Dublin north area; and the new areas of Dublin north that do not have broadband access that will be covered over the next two years. [34888/08]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: The provision of telecommunications services including broadband is, in the first instance, a matter for the private sector. Broadband service providers operate in a fully liberalised market, regulated, where appropriate, by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg. I have no role in private sector broadband infrastructure investment undertaken by broadband service providers.

The role of the Government is to formulate regulatory and infrastructure policies to facilitate the provision of high quality telecommunications services by competing private sector service providers.

The widespread provision of broadband services continues to be a priority for the Government. In that regard, my Department has undertaken initiatives to address the gaps in broadband coverage. These include providing grant-aid under the Group Broadband Scheme (GBS), investment in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) and the National Broadband Scheme (NBS) which is designed to deliver broadband to areas where the market has failed to provide services.

Over the last two years three Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) have been constructed in the Dublin area under Phase II of the MANs programme. These are Donabate/Portrane, Lusk and Skerries, all three built in partnership with Fingal County Council.