Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Technology and TD for Kildare North James Lawless will introduce a new Bill in the Dáil tomorrow aimed at improving the rollout of high speed broadband services across Ireland.
The ‘Planning and Development (Rapid Broadband) Bill 2017’ aims to achieve a common planning framework for broadband services across all local authorities and contains measures which will improve co-operation between service providers when developing communications infrastructure.
Deputy Lawless commented, “This Bill seeks to address some of the planning anomalies that have hindered the rapid roll-out of broadband services across the country. To date local authorities have applied different approaches to planning which has hampered the development of broadband infrastructure. The measures in this Bill will ensure that there is a consistent framework for broadband planning right across Ireland.
“The Bill also introduces a new requirement for public bodies to make their assets available to host broadband infrastructure, as is required under EU law. In effect this means that when a set of ducting is being laid by one agency, such as a local authority or the National Roads Authority, then this ducting should be capable of re-use for the purpose of rolling out broadband infrastructure. This will prevent the need to dig up a road each time new infrastructure needs to be put in place.
“There is also a requirement in the Bill for all future planning permissions to include ducting or cable to the door of the home. This will make all future builds “broadband ready” and will enable fibre services to be delivered directly into the home. Fibre infrastructure is already being rolled out across the country, but the final ‘last mile’ of the telecommunications network continues to rely on old copper based wiring. This is hampering broadband speeds. The only way to remove this problem in the long-term is by requiring developers to use fibre cabling during construction.
“The Bill also mandates Comreg to establish a list of all existing broadband assets in the State. This register will facilitate broadband providers to share key services in order to prevent duplication of work. For example, providers would share the same mast in a particular area rather than constructing their own individual ones.
“The overall goal of this Bill is to make it quicker and easier for providers to roll out broadband services. Ireland has a poor track record in this area in recent years, as is demonstrated by the ongoing problems with the National Broadband Plan.”