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Govt allows use of ESB assets for fibre

Wednesday, December 18 15:43:42

The Government today said it will bring in new laws enabling the use of ESB infrastructure for the nationwide roll-out of fibre-optic technology.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, said he will publish the ESB (Electronic Communications Networks) Bill 2013, which was approved by Government at its meeting this week.

The Bill provides an explicit legal basis to enable the ESB to engage in the business of electronic communications networks and electronic communications services either itself or in conjunction with any other company. It will allow ESB to use its network infrastructure to deliver fibre services to the telecommunications market.

"I believe that the publication of this Bill is a further step in Ireland positioning itself as a front runner in tackling the broadband infrastructure deficit. The ESB has been considering proposals to use its electricity distribution network to provide fibre telecommunications services on a wholesale only basis and has sought a Joint Venture partner in this regard. I look forward to receiving their detailed proposals in due course," the Minister said.

"This is a ground breaking initiative and one which is very much in the spirit of the Government's National Broadband Plan which specifically promotes the use of State assets to accelerate the roll out of high speed broadband infrastructure and services."

He added that the government is firmly committed to delivering high speed broadband across the country through a combination of commercial and State-led investment.

"The potential to use ESB's considerable network to deploy fibre will contribute to the commercial deployment of broadband."

"This development comes at a critical time in the telecommunications market where industry is investing heavily in the deployment of high speed fixed and wireless broadband," he added.