Fine Gael communications spokesman Leo Varadkar TD has said a law must be introduced that reduces the cost of investment in telecoms in Ireland.
A new “utility law” that would reduce these investment costs, particularly in broadband and next-generation networks, is overdue, according to Varadkar; who claims more than 60pc of investment in networks can be attributed to “civil work”.
“About 65pc of the cost of investing in networks comes down to civil work, including charges imposed by local authorities for road opening licences and the administrative cost of applying for, and waiting for, permission to dig up roads and secure wayleaves across public land.
“Currently, each local authority makes its own rules and sets its own charges. As it stands, only €650m per annum is being invested in capital projects by the industry, with much of this going into maintenance,” said Varadkar.
He believes the industry needs to get more “bang for its buck” in carrying out its own investments and that the proposed utility law would achieve this by “requiring local authorities to respond to requests for wayleaves and road opening licences within a set period of time and by capping the charges which they can impose”.