Here's how the Government is planning to address the broadband issue

A five page report was issued yesterday

Here's how the Government is planning to address the broadband issue

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten. 28-Nov-2016. Image: Niall Carson PA Wire/PA Images

The government has put forward its recommendations on how best to tackle the issues of broadband and mobile phone access around the country.  Communications Minister Denis Naughten and Arts Minister Heather Humphreys presented a report compiled by the broadband task force, which was set up earlier this year. The report is now being considered by Cabinet. 

The formation of this Taskforce was a 100 day commitment under the Programme for a Partnership Government and complements the work of the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

"The Taskforce has identified a number of areas where direct action by Government Departments and State Agencies can ensure accelerated benefits to consumers from these industry investments," says the report. It continues to say the Government agreed a series of concrete and immediate actions focussed on "removing barriers to investment, reducing the cost and streamlining planning processes for telecommunications infrastructure, providing consumers with information so they are better informed when making investment decisions, practical initiatives to boost reception of mobile phone and broadband services in homes and businesses, and greater cooperation including better information sharing between all stakeholders to support better outcomes for consumers."

The five page report consists of 40 actions, which it is hoped, will speed up the process of upgrading the infrastructure across the country, ahead of the National Broadband Plan rollout.  

The report is made up of the following subheadings:

  • Planning and Infrastructure
  • Informing consumers
  • Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Technology Initiatives 

Actions:

Some of the key highlights from the 40 actions listed are as follows:

  • Transport Infrastructure Ireland is to complete the duct installation of 95km of roadway on the M7/M8 corridor between Dublin and Cork. This work commenced in November 2016 will be completed by mid-2017. It will result in operators being able to deploy end to end telecommunications infrastructure between Dublin and Cork.
  • ComReg will generate and publish online a composite national coverage map, which will help consumers choose the network provider that bests meets their needs for where they live and work. The aim is to publish the map in 2018
  • All local authorities will assign an officer with responsibility for broadband who will act as a single point of contact for engagement with telecommunications operators who are building out infrastructure. 24 Local Authorities have now appointed dedicated broadband officers, to work with the telecoms industry. Each of these reports to and is being actively supported at senior Director level in the relevant Local Authority
  • The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and ComReg will assess the extent of black spots being experienced across the country and identify action to rectify this. This could include consideration of how spectrum in the 700MHz band is allocated.

The procurement process for the National Broadband Plan is ongoing, but the winning bidder / bidders will be announced in 2017.