Investment and competition vital to Irish telecoms

15 Mar 2006

The telecoms industry, the Government and the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) must support the development of a telecoms market that incentivises both investment and competition, not one or the other, the new chairman of the Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF), Gerry Fahy, has warned.

Fahy, who is director of strategy at Vodafone Ireland succeeds Dr George Young, chief executive of Commergy, who steps down after six years in the chair.

Discussing TIF’s review of the telecoms market for 2005, Fahy said the year was made unique by the significant number of high-profile mergers and acquisitions that took place.

These are likely to lead to further market changes over the coming years, as converged telecom products and services are made available.

Fahy cited the acquisition of Chorus and NTL by Liberty Global, Meteor by Eircom, O2 by Telefonica, the Cara Group by BT Ireland and Energis by Cable & Wireless. In addition, he observed that 2005 saw the launch of commercial 3G services and the awarding of a fourth 3G licence.

Fahy said: “These developments create the potential for increased investment and greater competition in an already competitive market. The challenge now for industry, Government and the regulator is to support the development of a market which incentives investment and competition, not one or the other.

“The challenge for TIF,” he added, “is to ensure that the true scale and accelerating pace of investment in broadband access, be it fixed or wireless, is better communicated. The debate must move away from restrictive definitions and narrow comparisons of broadband penetration tables to how well are we serving customers demand.

“The industry needs to better understand the factors inhibiting customers from adopting broadband and identify how we can work to educate and support those accessing the choice of competitive broadband services available,” Fahy said.

By John Kennedy