The long-awaited Communications Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2007 that will give the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) the power to fine telecoms firms 10pc of turnover could be enacted by as early as next week, a spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources told siliconrepublic.com.
Asked about when a commencement order for the Bill would be signed, a spokesperson responded: “We don’t have an exact date for that as yet but expect it to be in and around 1 May.”
The spokesperson also told siliconrepublic.com that the tender for the National Broadband Scheme, the successor to the failed Group Broadband Scheme, will be published in early May.
The aim of the National Broadband Scheme will be to provide a broadband service to the remaining 10pc of the population not capable of accessing broadband.
“The procurement process for the National Broadband Schyeme will commence in early May,” the spokesperson said. “We are confident that this scheme, when complete, will allow every reasonable request for broadband access to be met.”
The signing of the Communications Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2007 into law by the President of Ireland after passing through the Seanad and the Dail will be an historic moment for the Irish communications industry and all eyes will be on ComReg to see how the regulator exercises its new powers.
Ireland’s poor showing on various global league tables, an LLU (local loop unbundling) problem that has been unresolved since deregulation of the telecoms market in 1998 and lack of sufficient punitive powers for the regulator have long been a cause for concern in the industry.
By John Kennedy