Commitment Agreement for Rural Broadband must be Enforced by Minister and Department

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Communications, Dáil Issues

To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the role of his Department in the oversight of the introduction of broadband by commercial operators in rural areas. – Clare Daly.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018.

(887 Received on 15th May, 2018.)


Decisions made by private telecommunication operators relating to the deployment of infrastructure to provide high speed broadband services throughout Ireland, are undertaken on a commercial basis by competing service providers operating in a liberalised market. The telecommunications market in Ireland is regulated by the independent Commission for Communications Regulation, Comreg.
I have no statutory role or function to oversee the commercial decisions of private operators.

That notwithstanding, my Department monitors eir’s ongoing deployment of high speed broadband to rural areas under the terms of the Commitment Agreement signed between myself and the company in April 2017, a copy of which is available on my Department’s website

In accordance with the Commitment Agreement eir has committed to provide high speed broadband to 300,000 premises in rural areas on a commercial basis. Information on eir’s planned rural deployment is available at eir’s deployment milestone progress is also published on my Department’s website on a quarterly basis.

In compliance with the obligations of the Commitment Agreement, officials from my Department meet with eir on a monthly basis to review the company’s performance on certain sub-milestones. The purpose of these review meetings is for eir to report progress against sub-milestone tasks and also to identify any deployment related risks or issues and associated risk mitigation plans. These sub-milestones cover the tasks that are required to deliver high speed broadband to premises within the Planned Rural Deployment area. A detailed definition of each sub-milestone is provided in the Commitment Agreement.

Data for Q1 2018 recently submitted by eir to my Department indicates that the company has passed some 145,000 premises nationwide as part of its ongoing deployment. Eir has signalled that there would be likely knock-on effects to the 2018 milestone targets due to the severe weather impacts of both storms Ophelia and Emma.

A county by county breakdown of eir’s data for Q1 2018 will be available shortly on my Department’s website.