The examples of Fine Gael and Labour asking probing questions this week in the form of parliamentary questions have revealed that the National Broadband Scheme is going to be delayed, even more than we knew.
And now we also learn that the winning bidder who will be announced in November (which starts Saturday) is allowed to use satellite as a solution in 8% of the tender. Satellite isn’t broadband but then mobile broadband isn’t either.
To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if areas have been identified under the national broadband scheme as suitable for satellite internet access only; the percentage of the contract covered by this; the areas under the national broadband scheme that have been identified as being suitable for satellite internet access only; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Subject to agreement with the chosen service provider, rollout of services is expected to begin shortly after the contract is signed. The chosen service provider will be required to complete the roll out of services within 22 months of the contract award. All requests for a broadband service in the areas to be addressed by the NBS will be met.
The areas already covered by terrestrial broadband service providers will not be included in the NBS. The map showing the areas to be addressed by the NBS is available on my Department’s website www.dcenr.gov.ie and attached for information.
No specific areas have been identified as being suitable for satellite internet access. However, it is expected that some areas will be impossible to reach using terrestrial broadband platforms. The winning service provider will be allowed to serve up to 8% of the buildings in the NBS coverage area using satellite.
And we also learn that the post code system will cost 15 million quid but might never brought about:
To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his policy on postcodes; the cost of implementation; the cost of consultancy on this issue to date; his views on whether the growth of GPS will make postcodes redundant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The report of the board estimates that the cost of implementing, promoting and maintaining the postcode would be approximately €15 million.
A proposal concerning the introduction of postcodes went to Government in May 2007 and Government decided that, prior to the introduction of postcodes, further analysis to quantify the wider economic and societal benefits should be carried out. This analysis was recently updated and it will assist me to decide on how best to take the proposal forward. In this regard I fully accept that a postcode system can convey economic and social benefits, assist future competition in the postal sector and assist delivery of certain public services. I expect to bring a further proposal to Government in relation to the introduction of postcodes.
You can ask your local representatives to table questions and a lot of the time they’ll rephrase them to remove any leeway in the answers.