Consultation to take place on high-speed broadband

Minister for Communications tells Dáil areas of need will be mapped in autumn

Minister for Communications Alex White has told the Dáil a public consultation on broadband will take place next year. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Communications Alex White has told the Dáil a public consultation on broadband will take place next year. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 11:19

A public consultation on implementing a strategy for the provision of high speed broadband throughout the county will take place early next year, Minister for Communications Alex White has told the Dáil.

In his first ministerial question time in his new post today, he said it would follow the completion of a mapping exercise in the autumn to identify areas of need.

“People will have a chance to have a consultation in relation to that mapping exercise in respect of their own areas and towns,’’ he added.

Mr White said the consultation process would be critical and there should be every opportunity for citizens, public representatives and businesses to have an input.

Independent TD Seamus Healy said the provision of broadband was vital for job retention and creation, particularly in areas deemed to be non-commercial. It was particularly important in small towns, villages and rural areas, he added.

Mr White said intensive work was underway in the department to develop the full details of an intervention strategy.

He added that the recent announcement of a joint venture between ESB and Vodafone would result in further deployment of high speed networks in 50 towns, providing the possibility of direct fibre connectivity for 500,000 premises.

“The Government is committed to an ambitious plan which involves ensuring the delivery of broadband services to those parts of rural Ireland which will not be served by the commercial sector,’’ he added.