I was delighted to introduce my first Bill today. You can read a full copy of the Bill here.
The Planning and Development (Rapid Broadband) Bill 2017 is aimed at improving the rollout of high speed broadband services across Ireland. 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.
Ultimately this Bill will allow for;
-A consistent framework for broadband planning right across Ireland.
-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.
-A requirement for infrastructure to be re-used, where it is already in place, by mandating the sharing of kit including masts, between providers rather than two or more identical installations in one area.
-All new roads projects to include laying of ducting as standard and make available when needed
-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.
-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.
Broadband is now a basic requirement like power, heat, light or a telephone connection. It is imperative that obstacles be removed to fast-track the roll out of connections and capability to all communities.