Continued progress being made on improving the delivery of telecommunications services
Minister Denis Naughten, T.D., and Minister of State Seán Kyne, T.D. today published (30th April 2018) the first Quarterly Progress Report on the 2018 Work Programme of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Implementation Group.
This report, published on both Departments' websites, demonstrates the good progress made in alleviating telecommunications deficits in Ireland pending rollout of the National Broadband Plan State Intervention.
Commenting on the publication of the Report, Minister Naughten said: "We have achieved a lot since establishing this Taskforce in mid-2016, and the publication of this report reflects the momentum that was built up throughout 2017. We have continued to concentrate on how best to resolve mobile coverage blackspots, particularly in rural areas and a focus group has been established dedicated specifically to guide policy in that regard. We are also continuing to engage with industry and local authorities in a mapping exercise to identify priority blackspots across the country. I am also encouraged by the substantial work done by ComReg – such as mobile handset testing, and ongoing work to develop a composite national coverage map – to ensure customers are better informed before making decisions on products and services."
"We won't be sitting back, or lose momentum or focus. The Taskforce's achievements to date have laid solid groundwork and I expect customers will see a real difference and real benefits as work continues on the delivery of the Taskforce Work Programme."
Minister of State Seán Kyne said: "The work of the Taskforce is critical to improving mobile phone and broadband coverage in rural Ireland. Industry, Government and stakeholders are working effectively together to drive real change – capturing mobile phone blackspots is just one tangible outcome of the process, but it is the incremental changes that are making the real difference – updating regulations, fostering closer relationships between industry and government, as well as producing updated guidance documents for telecommunication companies.
I believe that the relationships between industry, government departments and local authorities have never been stronger. Everyone is pulling in the same direction; to improve mobile phone coverage and broadband services in communities across rural Ireland."
Actions outlined in the 2018 Work Programme focus on optimising network performance, improving consistency in relation to planning procedures, enhancing access to telco infrastructure, engaging with stakeholders on issues impacting on the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure, and equipping consumers to make informed decisions on available products and services.
Quarterly progress reports will continue to be produced on the status of actions outlined in the Work Programme, and will be published on both Departments' websites.
Notes to Editor:
About the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce
The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce was established in July 2016 arising from the Programme for a Partnership commitment to identify solutions to broadband and mobile phone coverage deficits and to investigate how better services could be provided to consumers prior to full build and rollout of the network planned under the National Broadband Plan (NBP) State Intervention. The Taskforce published its final report in December 2016, which set out 40 actions aimed at alleviating the issues that it identified.
An Implementation Group was established in early 2017 to oversee the timely implementation of all the actions of the Taskforce's report. This Group published its Implementation Review 2017 on 21 February 2018, which contains a review of progress made during 2017 and the 2018 Taskforce Work Programme. The Work Programme incorporates a small number of items carried over from 2017 as well as a range of new measures. The new actions are a direct result of discussions throughout the year with action holders and other key stakeholders, in addition to feedback received from attendees at the National Stakeholder Forum held in October 2017. There are a total of 34 actions for delivery in 2018.
The Taskforce Report, Implementation Programme and Quarterly Progress Reports can be accessed via: www.dccae.gov.ie/mobilephoneandbroadbandtaskforce
The following is a direct link to the Taskforce Q1 Progress Report: https://dccae.gov.ie/documents/Q1%202018%20Progress%20Report.pdf