Ireland: Telecoms And Energy Innovation In 2017

In the coming year, Ireland will take steps towards unlocking the potential of the internet of things and the green economy. A number of developments in 2016 set some groundwork for these initiatives. We examine these developments and their likely impact on telecoms and energy players in 2017 and beyond.

First came smartphones. We were hooked. Then came a vision of smart meters, smart homes, smart cities, intelligent utilities, ubiquitous broadband and 5G, Netflix anytime anywhere, driverless electric and compressed natural gas cars, remote working and virtual currencies. A gigabit society – a glimpse of a new super-connected and greener digital world.   

Irish and EU governments have set their sights on delivering this vision by 2020 and beyond. In 2017, we will continue to see important early steps being taken at an Irish industry, policy and legislative level to pave the way for these exciting future developments. The question is certainly no longer if, but when, an Irish smart green economy will be realised. 

Amongst many industry sectors, the Irish telecoms and energy industries will be the forerunners and will continue to adapt to technological innovation and changing consumer behaviours in 2017. The nature of the internet of things and growing consumer demand for always-on services is such that conventional telecoms and energy companies are seeing increasing overlaps in their areas of activity. This trend is likely to continue in 2017. Over time, the legislative framework governing these industries will follow suit. Each industry will be faced with significant Irish policy, regulatory and legislative changes in the coming years – with early measures being felt in 2017. 

A number of developments in 2016 will have important implications for telecoms and energy players in 2017 and onwards:

  • In December 2016, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment launched the Report of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce.

The Report is intended to identify immediate solutions to Irish broadband/mobile phone coverage deficits prior to implementation of the National Broadband Plan. It identifies short-term  actions in areas such as identification and remediation of mobile phone blackspots, telecoms network planning, consumer availability of coverage information, the appointment of broadband officers across local authorities, changes to planning legislation and the enactment of legislation in respect of broadband-ready housing and developments. 

On the Report's launch, the Minister signalled ambitious plans for Ireland to lead the race on 5G deployment by 2020, including by means of future ComReg spectrum auctions. 5G, the successor to current 3G and 4G mobile technology, is key to realising the potential of the internet of things, smart homes, driverless cars and mobile video consumption. 

Themes and actions from the December Report were reiterated in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs' Action Plan for Rural Development "Realising our Rural Potential" published on 23 January 2016. 

  • In September 2016, the European Commission published a suite of Digital Single Market initiatives including a Draft European Electronic Communications Code and 5G Action Plan.

Described as a new rule book for providers of internet access and communication services, the European Electronic Communications Code will replace the existing EU and Irish telecoms legal framework and introduce regulatory changes in areas such as network investment, spectrum management, consumer protection and the regulation of non-conventional "over the top" telecoms platforms such as Skype-type applications. While implementation of the new Code is likely two or more years away, the measures signal a clear focus by EU legislators on reshaping the European telecoms legal framework.

  • In November 2016, the European Commission published its "Clean Energy for all Europeans" package.

This energy flagship initiate goes hand in hand with the telecoms Digital Single Market strategy. It will introduce a series of changes to existing energy legislation which will facilitate energy innovation and digitalisation as part of the move to smart homes and the green economy. Planned measures include allowing consumers to actively manage their energy consumption and to generate, store, share and sell their own energy over time (facilitated by internet connectivity). The horizon for Irish implementation of the changes is some years away but important groundwork is underway at EU level.

  • In November 2016, the deadline for Irish transposition of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive  passed.

Aimed at promoting take-up of renewable clean transport fuels such as electricity and compressed natural gas, Ireland has taken preliminary steps to implement the Directive by consulting in late 2016 on a Draft National Policy Framework on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure. The draft framework includes proposed targets for the development of a national recharging network for electric vehicles and refuelling infrastructure for natural gas vehicles. We should expect Irish legislation in this area in 2017.

  • In July 2016, the EU Network and Information Security Directive was published.

With connected smart utilities come inherent cyber security risks. There have been a number of high-profile cyber-attacks on critical national utility networks. Daily attempted cyber-attacks on Ireland's gas network system were reported in 2016. 

The Directive includes measures to ensure that critical national utility networks (eg electricity, gas, water, oil and transport) are safeguarded from cyber-attacks. This includes a requirement that appropriate and proportionate technical and organisational measures are taken to manage the risks posed to the security of those networks and the information systems which they use. One of the first Irish measures to implement the Directive's proposals reported in 2016 involves the establishment of the National Cyber-Security Centre within the remit of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment. We should expect further activity in this area in 2017.


Market uncertainties arising from Trumpism and Brexit aside, the global race to unlock the potential of the internet of things and the green economy is on. As home to thriving innovative technology, telecoms and energy sectors, Ireland will play its part. In 2017, we will see significant further early Irish steps being taken across the telecoms and energy sectors to set important groundwork for future developments in these areas.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.