ComReg fines Eircom €525k for failing to meet USO targets

9 Nov 2012

Ireland’s incumbent telecoms operator Eircom has been fined €525,000 for failing to meet customer service targets as set down by ComReg in its Universal Service Obligation (USO) agreement with the regulator.

In 2008, Eircom agreed to comply with certain USO targets set down by ComReg in relation to timescales for connection, fault rate occurrence and fault rate repair times.

As part of an improvement programme governing 2010 to 2012, Eircom put in place performance bonds totalling €10m to guarantee its performance. In addition, Eircom estimated it would make an annual investment of more than €30m in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.

In a note issued yesterday, ComReg revealed that while Eircom met some of the targets others were not met.

According to the document, Eircom achieved its targets in relation to connections, fault occurrence, and certain fault repair targets. However, Eircom did not achieve its targets for fault repairs within two working days, fault repairs within four working days, and fault repairs within five working days.

“Eircom has now paid the sum of €525,000 to ComReg arising from its failure to achieve the relevant targets,” ComReg said.

The news comes just a week after Eircom revealed it plans to cut 2,000 of its 5,700-strong workforce.

In June, Eircom exited examinership with new capital and shareholders in place. Its three companies, Eircom Ltd, Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd and Irish Telecommunications Investments Ltd, had been placed under examinership in March.

Sources in the industry have greeted the news of the fine by ComReg with dismay. Because various companies rely on Eircom to enable them to provide services to end users, the decline in USO-agreed fault repair times in turn reflects badly on their service provision capabilities, they say.

A source also expressed concern at the likely impact the 2,000 job cuts will have in terms of Eircom’s ability to ensure it meets its USO obligations in the future.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years