ComReg delays Eircom’s wholesale product


18 Sep 2007

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Ireland’s telecoms regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), has directed incumbent operator Eircom not to launch a new wholesale bitstream product until it can demonstrate it is compliant with its regulatory obligations.

In late August Eircom said it intended to launch a new capacity-based bitstream product for its wholesale customer. Effectively this meant each wholesale customer would be differentiated according to amount of capacity required.

“Eircom were to commence taking orders on 24 September but we’ve asked them not to launch the product until they can demonstrate to ComReg that it is compliant with regulatory obligations including wholesale access,” a spokesman told siliconrepublic.com.

The move to halt the launch of the service was welcomed by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators (ALTO) which said the move would have once again impacted on competition in the marketplace.

It is believed the move would have made bitstream — effectively reselling Eircom’s broadband product — more attractive than local loop unbundling (LLU) services, a direction the industry has been campaigning to move in for some time.

“Once again we see an attempt by Eircom to shape the market to its own advantage and that of its retail arm” said Liam O’Halloran, chairman of ALTO.

“The biggest seller of bitstream is Eircom so it beggars belief that it could be so blatant in its attempts to favour its own business with this product.”

According to O’Halloran, if capacity-based bitstream is introduced it will also have a detrimental effect on the LLU market.

“Eircom has opposed tooth and nail the development of LLU and is providing the service under regulatory obligation only.

“Because the pricing of the product is capacity-based, it reduces the cost of bitstream and makes LLU less viable as a business model.

“If this product is not to distort the market, we will need to see a reduction in LLU pricing in order to maintain market competitiveness”, O’Halloran said.

By John Kennedy