The Programme for a Partnership Government committed to the establishment within 100 days of a mobile phone and broadband taskforce which will consider immediate measures to address telecommunications deficits in rural Ireland.
The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce was established in July 2016. The role of the Taskforce was to examine solutions to address broadband/mobile phone coverage deficits and to identify tangible actions that can be taken to improve the quality of broadband and mobile voice services being provided to citizens across Ireland.
The Taskforce Report was published in December 2016, which sets out recommendations and 40 actions to alleviate barriers to mobile reception and broadband access. The Taskforce identified a number of areas where direct action by Government Departments and State Agencies can ensure accelerated benefits to consumers from industry investments.
Actions outlined in the report focus on optimising network performance, improving consistency in relation to planning procedures, enhancing access to infrastructure, engaging with stakeholders on issues impacting on the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure, and equipping consumers to make informed decisions on available products and services.
An Implementation Group has been established to oversee the timely implementation of all actions in the Taskforce Report. The Taskforce Implementation Group brings together all key stakeholders identified in the Taskforce report with responsibility for delivery of actions. The Group will play a vital role in monitoring and driving progress, to ensure the full delivery of all actions recommended by the Taskforce.
The Implementation Group will formally report every 90 days to both Ministers, who will in turn jointly brief Government on progress made. Each quarterly progress report will be published on this page.
National Stakeholder Forum
Action 1 of the Taskforce Report commits to holding “an annual forum for all stakeholders to discuss issues impacting on the rollout of telecoms infrastructure”. The Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment were jointly tasked with organising the event. The Forum took place on Friday, 6 October 2017 in Athlone.