Govt passes legislation to open motorway ducts for broadband

19 Mar 2010

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New legislation granting telecoms companies access to ducting running along Ireland’s motorways will avoid the costly duplication of road openings by multiple telecoms operators.

As first reported by Siliconrepublc.com, the Government has passed legislation that gives the National Roads Authority (NRA) the power to grant telecoms companies access to ducting running along the country’s motorways and other primary roads.

“The new legislation offers a series of practical advantages but crucially it will increase the potential to provide backhaul connectivity for some of the smaller Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) towns where competitive backhaul does not exist,” E-net CEO Conall Henry said in welcoming the legislation.

“Additionally, it will avoid costly duplication of road openings by multiple telecom operators. This is a very welcome development and (Communications, Energy and Natural Resources) Minister Eamon Ryan is to be warmly commended for pushing this vital infrastructural reform through,” Henry said.

Streamlining broadband roll out

This move would also be a key factor in facilitating the proposed one-stop shop promised by Ryan, whereby all State-owned ducting and fibre (running under motorways and along rail, gas and electricity networks, for example) would be administered by a single State entity, thereby streamlining access by telecoms companies to accelerate the roll out of broadband services, Henry added.

The legislation amends Part 5 of the Communications (Regulation) Act 2002. Under the 2002 Act, local authorities are the sole consent giving authority for local, regional, national and motorways.

The amendment designates the NRA as a road authority for national roads, including motorways, and gives it overall responsibility for the planning, supervision and construction of maintenance works on national roads and motorways.

“It is also beneficial for telecom operators to deal with one single point of contact rather than potentially multiple local authorities,” Ryan TD Siliconrepublic.com.

“It will also greatly streamline the process for getting access to ducting running along national roads and motorways for telecoms operators.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Irish Government has passed legislation that gives the National Roads Authority the power to grant telecoms companies access to ducting running along the country’s motorways and other primary roads, which would facilitate the roll out of broadband across Ireland

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com