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New telecoms law approved by Dail will assist in speeding up internet connectivity for communities across Ireland

broadband router with ethernet cables

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 broadband services.

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