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Naughten welcomes 3.6 GHz band and faster 4G speeds in rural and urban areas

Release of the 3.6 GHz band is a significant step to improve access to telecommunications infrastructure in Ireland and will help pave the way for the roll out of 5G service.

May 22nd 2017
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten today gave a strong welcome to the announcement by ComReg of the results of its auction for the 3.6 GHz band, which will result in better and faster wireless services across rural Ireland and urban areas.

Minister Naughten stated: “Today’s announcement by ComReg is hugely significant, particularly for people in rural Ireland. The level of frustration felt by people in rural Ireland at the lack of quality mobile and wireless broadband service is something that I have been working to address since becoming Communications Minister. Today’s announcement will mean an 86% increase in spectrum capacity to meet the growing demand for mobile and wireless broadband service across rural and urban areas. The award of 15 year licences for spectrum rights of use to Imagine, Airspan Spectrum Holdings, Vodafone Ireland, Three Ireland, and Meteor will provide a degree of stability as well as creating future investment certainty. The award of this new spectrum can potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of people and I urge operators to move early in rolling out their services. Today’s results complement the work of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce. I established the Taskforce to address the level of frustration felt by customers, especially in rural Ireland, in not receiving the level of services they expect and deserve. The Taskforce is working on eliminating barriers to telecommunications infrastructure across the country. The longer term result from today’s announcement will be that Ireland will be much better placed for any future 5G deployment and enable us to play a leading role as a digital leader in the EU.”

ENDS

Note for Editor:
In announcing the fact that €78m will be raised through the auction from the 5 rural and urban based winning bidders which have obtained spectrum rights for use including in rural areas, the Regulator stated that the licences granted will be of 15 years duration (expiring on 31 July 2032). The auction resulted in a successful assignment of all 350 MHz of spectrum, which was offered in 594 lots spread over 9 regions (four rural and five urban), assigned on a contiguous basis.

The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce (the 'Taskforce') was established in July 2016, arising from a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government, to deliver on the actions set out in the National Broadband Plan. Ministers Denis Naughten T.D. and Heather Humphreys T.D. co-chair the Taskforce.

The objective of the Taskforce is to consult and engage with telecoms industry representatives in order to establish barriers to infrastructure and service deployment. It aims to identify solutions which can be implemented in the short, medium and long term to alleviate telecommunications deficits, particularly in rural Ireland, prior to full build and rollout of the network planned under the National Broadband Plan State intervention. The work of the Taskforce will assist Local Authorities in preparing for the rollout of the National Broadband Plan network once contract(s) are in place.

The Report and Implementation Programme can be accessed via: http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/publications/Pages/Report-of-the-Mobile-Phone-and-Broadband-Taskforce.aspx

These initiatives should assist in enhancing the quality of mobile phone and data services across Ireland and particularly in rural Ireland.

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