New houses must be built for broadband
Published 28/07/2016 | 02:30
Developers will be required to install telecommunications ducts that will allow for easy connection to broadband services on all new buildings from next year.
The move is one of a string of measures being implemented by Communications Minister Denis Naughten in a bid to speed up the nationwide roll-out of high-speed internet.
It follows the signing of a number of statutory instruments yesterday, including one which will force operators of utility networks such as electricity, gas and transport to share information about their infrastructure with broadband providers.
All road authorities are also now obliged to make decisions on permits to install telecommunications lines below, on, or above public roads, within four months of receiving all of the information they require from the industry applicant.
This does not apply to telephone exchanges or mobile masts - only to poles, wires and underground cables.
If a decision is not made within the deadline, companies will automatically be entitled to move ahead.
It comes after a new taskforce on mobile phone and broadband access was jointly chaired by Mr Naughten and Rural Development Minister Heather Humphreys for the first time yesterday.
The group, which includes representatives from OPW, Irish Countrywomen's Association and Irish Rural Link and business associations, is a response to concerns about the timeframe for the lengthy roll-out of the National Broadband Plan.
Members will look for immediate solutions to broadband/mobile phone coverage deficits in certain parts of the country.
"I am confident that the taskforce will deliver on a work programme that will see immediate solutions to the broadband and mobile phone coverage deficits and alleviate some of the difficulties being felt by families, businesses and the young and elderly across rural Ireland," said Mr Naughten.
As part of its work programme, the taskforce is to engage with the telecoms industry to identify and address barriers to telecoms deployment.
It is expected to report to the Government by the end of the year with an action plan that identifies practical measures.
Ms Humphreys said: "I intend to ensure there are no unnecessary delays to the roll-out of broadband to rural communities, which is essential to their future economic prosperity."