Parliamentary Question No. 275
To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if, in view of the digital dividend which will arise from the cessation of the analogue TV signals and the freeing up of the radio spectrum between 790 MHZ and 862 MHZ, he can comment on the progress of the auction of this infrastructure; and if he will provide assurances, notwithstanding the statutory function of ComReg in this area, that the dividend will benefit homes and businesses in rural as well as urban areas as outlined in the Programme for Government.
– Seán Kyne.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. P. Rabbitte)
The management of the radio spectrum is a statutory function of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) under the Communications Regulation Act, 2002 as amended.
ComReg set out the process it has adopted for the award of rights of use for radio frequencies in the 800Mhz, 900Mhz and 1800Mhz bands in its information memorandum and associated documents (ComReg document 12/52). These documents also set out the reasons, analysis and other material relied upon by ComReg in support of its substantive decisions regarding the minimum coverage and rollout requirements for the rights of use to be granted in the award process.
The Deputy will be aware that the auction is ongoing and that due to the extremely commercially sensitive nature of the process, I cannot comment further on its progress at this time.
The auction is one of three interrelated components to the Government’s proposed programme to deliver high speed broadband to all areas in Ireland. In the first instance, the National Broadband Plan which I launched last month sets the targets for high speed broadband and outlines the actions which Government and industry will take to achieve them. Secondly, the spectrum auction will release valuable new spectrum into the Irish market and is therefore, a vital step allowing telecommunications operators to provide advanced 4G wireless broadband services and finally, the decision by ComReg on the regulation of next generation broadband access. The confluence of these three key policy, operational and regulatory reforms will define the delivery and availability of high speed broadband to all areas of Ireland as envisaged in the Programme for Government.