Gotta love FOI requests.
Via this FOI (PDF)
So the takeaway points this time round:
1. The Dept of Comms told the EU they didn’t believe a word about future rollouts by broadband providers.
2. They suggested to the EU that the National Broadband Tender should address either (a) areas where providers said they wouldn’t go to AND areas where they said they would (but where the Dept of Comms thought they were telling porkies) or (b) address the definite no go areas first, give the providers a cooling off period and then push the tender to these areas six months later.
3. The EU agreed with the Dept of Comms to go with option (b).
4. Why has the Department of Comms never told us of the cooling off period part of their plan? Is it still part of their plan because the utterings from Minister Eamon Ryan seem to suggest these “blue” or “grey” areas are not being addressed.
5. Is the Dept delaying the NBS because they can’t afford to cover all the bad areas and are delaying til they have the cash and til more of the “blue” areas turn out to have broadband?
This is the Department of Communications talking to the EU about the National Broadband Scheme and the map of areas without broadband. This was 2007:
To identify where broadband services are not being provided by the market the NBS team, comprised of members of the DCMNR and ComReg undertook the following comprehensive mapping process:
The DCMNR and ComReg contacted service providers and requested details of their current and planned broadband coverage. Representaive samples of the following categories of service providers were contacted:
Licensed fixed service providers
licensed wireless service providers
known licensed exempt wireless service providers
mobile service providers
GBS service providers
The data received from service providers was inserted on a broadband coverage map. In order to achieve as complete and accurate map as possible, the NBS team then consulted with the Irish Regional Authorities to ask that they confirm as far as possible, the broadband coverage information provided in the maps and that the list of all service providers included in the mapping process was comprehensive. The Regional Authorities were requested to provide any additional information on service providers in their specific areas.
The additional service providers identified by the Regional Authorities were contacted by the DCMNR and details of the service providers current and future coverage plans were requested and included in the map.
A number of geographic areas are excluded from the scope of the NBS as the DCMNR has determined that existing coverage is adequate and/or there are already serveral service providers in the area. As a consequence, the NBS will not address the following areas:
The 5 largest cities in the State (Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford)
Areas within which telephone exchanges have been enabled for DSL, subject to a service radius of 4.5km
Areas served by wireless broadband provision, subject to (where appropriate) the service radius defined by licence requirements and having regard to topographical effects on wireless coverage.
The Indicative Map
The resulting broadband coverage map is the “indicative map”, please see Appendix C for the latest version of the map…
“grey areas” are currently unserved by broadband, but where service providers have indicated that they plan to provide broadband services in these regions in the foreseeable future
However they also tell the EU that they don’t believe a word about the rollout of broadband by these providers:
The DCMNR wishes to address the grey areas as it is, in its view, unlikely that service providers planned coverage will materialise. The DCMNR has grave concerns that, in some instances, where service providers have indicated that they will roll out afforable broadband services in a region, there is no evidence that such claims are based on commercial reality.
Now, next doc (pdf)
The Grey areas are now Blue areas it seems:
According to the Irish authorities, consumers and businesses in the “green” and “blue” areas are still lacking access to broadband services since they first became generally available in Ireland approximately 5 years ago. In order to remedy this situation the DCENR has informed operators of its approach for dealing with “blue” areas: services providers will be given a reasonable timefreame to roll out broadband services to these areas, after which any unserved areas at that time will be supported by the NBS. The DCENR considers this approach to be reasonable and proportionate and one that balances the needs of consumers against those of service providers.
The “blue” areas will, therefore, be included in the scope of the NBS from the outset and the NBS procurement will seek to keep an option to address these areas. However, the provision of broadband to the “blue” areas via the NBS contract will not take place until the beginning of Q3 2008. Up to the end of Q2 2008, where the DCENR is presented with clear evidence that a “live broadband service” is being provided to users in blue areas, the service provider’s particular service footprint will be removed from the NBS coverage requirements. The Irish authorities have put in place a notification mechanism for operators to inform them about updated service footprints, i.e. the geographic areas where there they roll out broadband. A mechanism to give effect to this approach will also be built into the NBS procurement process and service contract.