14 March 2014
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Pat
Rabbitte T.D., has welcomed Oireachtas agreement of the ESB (Electronic
Communications Networks) Bill 2013. The Bill, which received cross-party support
in both Houses, makes it possible to run electronic communications lines along
the ESB's extensive electricity network.
Commenting on the completion of all stages of the Bill in the Oireachtas,
Minister Rabbitte said “I believe that this Bill is a further step in Ireland
positioning itself as a front runner in tackling the broadband infrastructure
deficit. This is a ground-breaking initiative and one which is very much in the
spirit of the Government’s National Broadband Plan which specifically promotes
the use of State assets to accelerate the roll out of high speed broadband
infrastructure and services.”
"Government is firmly committed to delivering high speed broadband across the
country through a combination of commercial and State-led investment. We are
seeing very encouraging investment from the private sector. The potential to use
ESB’s considerable network to deploy fibre will contribute to the commercial
deployment of broadband."
“The ESB has been considering proposals to use its electricity distribution
network to provide fibre-based telecommunications services on a wholesale basis
and has sought a Joint Venture partner in the context of developing this
business proposition. I look forward to receiving the ESB’s formal detailed
proposals in due course now that the legislative process in nearing an end.
The Minister went on to say “This development comes at a critical time in the
telecommunications market where commercial operators are investing heavily in
the deployment of high speed fixed and wireless broadband”
“The broad all-party support for the Bill is indicative of the significant
contribution this step can make to increase competition in the provision of next
generation broadband infrastructure for the benefit of customers.”
Note to editors
The National Broadband Plan, published in August 2012, set out policy
initiatives to deliver high speed broadband across the country, through a
combination of commercial investment where that is viable and a State led
investment to serve areas where there is no such commercial case.
The legislation will enable the ESB to provide a fibre based option where it
is commercially viable. This can increase the reach of fibre based connections
closer to retail customers.
The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is currently
engaged in a comprehensive mapping exercise to identify areas that will need to
be targeted by a State led intervention to complete public access to high speed