Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
80. Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will take the necessary steps to ensure that an area code fixed line number must be provided alongside an 1890 or 1850 telephone number when such numbers are provided for members of the public to contact any organisation or business to enable such calls to be included in a bundle of inclusive minutes as currently offered by various telecom providers; his views on whether the practice of State bodies and businesses to exclusively use 1890 or 1850 numbers is contrary to the public interest and results in consumers incurring unnecessary expense; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18648/09]
114. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on directing State agencies and Departments to use both a lo-call number and local number for members of the public to phone in view of the fact that many people have free national calls which would be more cost efficient than calling the lo-call number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18700/09]
The matters raised by the Deputies are a customer service issue for the organisation or business concerned. The use and display of telephone numbers is an area in which I have no statutory function. In relation to the wider public sector, I will ask my officials to contact the Quality Customer Service Officers Network, which is managed by the Department of the Taoiseach, requesting that they advise Government Departments and State Agencies to display and use both local and lo-call numbers.
My own Department uses both a lo-call number and a standard local number to facilitate a choice for members of the public. These numbers are published on the Department’s website and in telephone directories.
82. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the steps he is taking to provide broadband coverage to areas not serviced by the national broadband scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18649/09]
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): EU State Aid and competition rules prevent States from intervening in the areas already substantially served by broadband. While recognising that some premises within substantially served areas may have difficulties for whatever reason (long lines, pair gains, no line of sight etc) in receiving a broadband service, the National Broadband Scheme cannot cater for such limited instances. It is expected that over time, competing service providers would be attracted to offer services in such areas, given that those areas are already commercially viable for the existing service provider(s). It is also expected that technology innovations e.g. improved satellite broadband services, will result in increased competition in the served areas.
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