Dáil Éireann - Volume 674 - 10 February, 2009

Written Answers. - Telecommunications Services.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on reports of a stimulus package from the EU proposal for rural broadband projects; if this fund will help the areas currently unable to get broadband but that are also not covered by the national broadband scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4543/09]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: The EU Commission has proposed that the recently announced Economic Recovery Plan would contain measures aimed at enhancing rural broadband infrastructure. While Ireland is supportive of the proposal, other Member States are opposed and a proposal has not, as yet, been agreed between the Commission and all Member States.

In the event that the proposal is agreed, any funding available to Member States would be distributed under the Rural Development Fund administered in Ireland by the Department of Agriculture and Food. Officials from the Department of Agriculture and Food and my officials have proposed possible initiatives to the EU Commission that could be considered for inclusion in the proposal should it be agreed. These include an initiative to help residences and businesses not covered by the national broadband scheme and which are unable to access broadband.

Question No. 123 answered with Question No. 87.