Dáil Éireann - Volume 646 - 07 February, 2008

Written Answers. - Telecommunications Services.

Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the funding provided by his Department for a project (details supplied) in County Mayo from the year 2000 to date in 2008; if this project is up and running; if he will investigate the circumstances surrounding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4370/08]

Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is satisfied with the operational services provided and the value for money of the work carried out which was aided by funding from his Department (details supplied); the audits, whether technical or financial, that were carried out on such projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4371/08]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together.

This project was selected for funding under the Broadband Measure of the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme, 1994-1999. It involved the design and construction, by Chorus Communications, of a hybrid fibre coaxial network in Castlebar, County Mayo during 2000 and 2001 at a total cost of €1.3 million.

A technical evaluation of the project was completed by North West Labs Ltd, who furnished a completion report for each phase of the project and a final report. A financial audit was carried out by Ernst and Young. Consequently, grant aid of €615,627 was paid to Chorus in respect of the project. The demand for services foreseen by Chorus did not materialise for a variety of reasons. This project highlights the fast moving and risky nature of investment in the electronic communications market.

I understand UPC, the current owners of the network, are considering the possible role of the networks in their future plans.