Poor planning a barrier to quality telecoms services
The incoming Chair of Ibec’s Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF), Anne O’Leary, today Thursday 19 November 2015, said that the lack of a joined up approach to planning across Ireland is depriving communities of adequate mobile and fixed connectivity.
In all, telecoms operators have invested €3.2 billion in Ireland over the past five years which equates to the entire spend of Ireland’s 2014 Public Capital Programme. In order to deliver a world-class telecoms infrastructure and the best experience for Irish customers, the operators as an industry must continue to invest, but this will only be possible in a pro-investment environment. Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland is speaking at the Annual Digital Lunch in Fire Restaurant, Dublin, today, also attended by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD, where it will be announced that she will succeed Colm O’Neill, CEO of BT Ireland, as Chair of TIF for a one year term. Ahead of the event she praised the Minister’s intention to roll-out the National Broadband Plan, which she said has game-changing potential for Ireland in terms of providing much needed employment in rural communities and lowering emigration rates, especially amongst the younger generation. Speaking at the event, Anne O’Leary, Chair of TIF will say: “Mobile and fixed connectivity is as essential to households and businesses as electricity or running water. Collectively, as an industry, we are making a significant, and I believe sometimes unnoticed, contribution to Ireland. “If we are to get serious about our connected future and to continue to invest at similar levels to provide the necessary connectivity, there needs to be joined up thinking around the rules governing planning permission, which is often refused for arbitrary reasons. In addition, getting permission for telecoms infrastructure beside motorways is a challenge and rules for road opening and reinstatement are unduly onerous. These barriers must be addressed to provide communities with the connectivity they need,” she concluded. Anne O’Leary also said that during all of her years working in the sector, it has never been as competitive and that this level of competition is set to continue. The ultimate beneficiary in all of this will be the consumer. She also announced that TIF would continue its support of the Samaritans Ireland, 116123, free-to-call phone number for an additional three years from March 2016. The annual value of the support is estimated to be in the region of €700,000 with a current average of 1850 daily calls. Since the partnership began in March 2014 one million phone calls have been made to the free-to-call service.