ComReg orders Eircom to give BT access to next-generation core

15 Jul 2009

The telecoms regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), has given Eircom three months to give BT wholesale access to its next-generation, uncontended Ethernet network, or it must stop selling these core services.

ComReg last night determined that BT’s request for uncontended wholesale Ethernet is a reasonable request and that Eircom has an obligation to provide it.

In a complex, 79-page document full of legal jargon published by ComReg last night, in which certain paragraphs were blacked out, the regulator ruled that Eircom should provide BT with a product as requested.

ComReg decided that if Eircom did not meet this request from BT, it would be in breach of its access and non-discrimination obligations. If such access isn’t provided, this would limit the ability of other licensed operators to compete in the retail market, the regulator said.

In recent years, Eircom revealed plans to invest in its next-generation core and said it would deploy high-bandwidth IP/Ethernet network to all sites in Ireland with more than 2,000 working lines.

However, BT has complained that due to lack of access to Ethernet leased lines from Eircom, it cannot compete on price with Eircom Retail.

ComReg has given Eircom three months to provide co-location facilities and aggregation to BT as part of its access request.

“If BT cannot place orders for these products within three months from the date of a final determination, then Eircom will cease taking orders for Ethernet customer access connections until such a time as BT can place orders for the requested facilities,” ComReg stated.

“Naturally, BT welcomes the decision as we believe that Ethernet is the core of next-generation networks/next-generation access,” a spokesman for the company told last night.

By John Kennedy