ALTO calls for end to Eircom’s ‘overwhelming dominance’

13 Mar 2009

Following Tuesday’s Joint Oireachtas Communications Committee discussion in which Eircom said it could not commit to rolling out high-speed, fixed-line fibre-optic broadband, Ronan Lupton, chairman of the Alternative Operators in the Communications Market (ALTO), has reacted, claiming that the incumbent’s ‘debt woes’ were now a national issue.

Eircom’s head of policy Pat Galvin told the committee earlier this week that the scale of the investment required for such high-speed broadband was phenomenal, and that the firm had to review its business plan given the current economic climate.

“Eircom’s overwhelming dominance on the exchange-to-user infrastructure must be broken to allow other networks invest in the services we need to become the knowledge economy the Government envisages,” said Lupton.

He explained that especially with new jobs created in the technology sector here through Hewlett-Packard and Facebook’s European headquarters, any hopes for the growth and survival of knowledge economy advocated by the Government lie in an improved broadband infrastructure.

“The Government has cited knowledge business as the possible economic saviour for the country, and must match this rhetoric with action on Eircom’s monopolisation of the ‘last-mile’ infrastructure.”

Lupton went on to say that Eircom’s inability to commit to an ultra-high-speed broadband rollout would “dissuade and delay any potential investment from broadband-dependent businesses.

“The only certainty we have is that the needed investment will not happen now when it is needed most, and that in the event of the upturn, Ireland will be in a seriously disadvantaged position to attract 21st century businesses.”

By Marie Boran