Given the abject failure of the government to provide universal, high-speed broadband to every household and business in the county, I have decided to introduce my own Bill that will do exactly this.
The main provisions of the Bill will include:
- Targets for the establishment of universal 5 Megabit broadband coverage by the end of 2009, and for universal 20 Megabit coverage by 2012;
- The establishment of a National Broadband Network which will include all private and public infrastructure for the delivery of universal coverage;
- The establishment of a National Broadband Commission to represent broadband consumers and to co-ordinate the implementation of the Network. Its members must be approved by the Joint Committee of Communications Energy and Natural Resources. It will report directly to the Minister;
- Provisions obliging the Minister to report on the NBC’s progress to the Joint Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on a semi-annual basis;
- Regulatory reform including increased powers for Comreg to guarantee free competition in broadband provision.
It is out of frustration that I feel compelled to introduce this Bill. The government and the rest of the Luddites in Leinster House have failed to recognise the importance of broadband for