ALTO stands firm on PPC criticism from ComReg

22 Oct 2003

ALTO (the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators) has dismissed a statement from the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) that strongly defended ComReg’s management of the introduction of Eircom’s new partial private circuits (PPC) service.

ComReg yesterday claimed that operators who resell Eircom leased lines using the new PPC product and existing wholesale products could expect to make savings of between 20pc and 40pc. “Such savings could make a material difference as they potentially run into millions of euro each year,” ComReg maintained. ComReg said the view of ALTO and its chairman, Iarla Flynn, appeared to ignore these savings.

Responding to the statement, Flynn said it was still unclear precisely what savings an operator could make by deploying PPCs. “What’s on offer is not clear and does not meet the expectations that operators have – expectations that have been created by ComReg itself,” he told “Judging by the standards ComReg has set itself, PPC does not deliver.”

Flynn also queried whether ComReg was intending that PPCs would replace leased lines in rural areas. The ComReg statement, he said, was ambiguous on the issue but seemed to suggest that PPCs would apply to the capital only. Such a suggestion would “come as news to operators” who were led to believe that the replacement of leased lines by PPCs in rural areas would result in considerable savings for end users, said Flynn. Eircom currently supplies 21,000 leased lines directly round the country with a further 9,000 supplied by other operators on its network. This business is worth about €125m to Eircom each year.

Reacting to another ComReg assertion – that a number of operators, including a number of ALTO’s own members, had told it that PPC “offers real and significant savings” – Flynn drily commented: “I’d be very surprised if anyone had ordered PPCs at this stage.” He stressed that ALTO’s position had been reached after full consultation with the membership and that the organisation fully “stands over” its position.

Furthermore, Flynn expressed disappointment at the tone of ComReg’s response. “It’s disappointing that they have personalised the issue,” he said. “It’s not about any one individual; it’s about the marketplace.”

By Brian Skelly