ComReg to cut broadband ‘line share’ price

12 Nov 2004

The Commission for Communications Regulation has issued a bold new proposal to reduce the cost Eircom charges other operators for providing broadband on the customer’s phone line from €9 to just 39 cents.

Local loop unbundling (LLU) line share allows telecom operators to provide broadband services to customers who currently have telephone lines and want broadband as well.

The line share cost is the amount that operators are charged by Eircom for the use of the customer’s line for the broadband service.

ComReg chairman John Doherty pointed out that the use of LLU line share has underpinned the rollout of broadband in various EU countries.

“The price of line share can be a key element of LLU and broadband rollout. This price review forms part of an ongoing comprehensive review of the LLU product and processes by ComReg. We believe that the proposed changes can help re-energise the LLU market. It will also stimulate the further rollout of broadband to the benefit of the consumer,” Doherty said.

Hot on the heels of ComReg’s proposal, lobby group IrelandOffline said it was a welcome development, “but is still only one step through the LLU pricing and procedural minefield,” said the group’s spokesman Damien Mulley.

Mulley added: “As well as line share pricing, there are quite a few more prices that need to be tackled. The costs for installing 3rd party equipment, renting space, the costs of power and air conditioning and paying for an Eircom engineer to accompany a third-party engineer are still extortionate and hamper competition in the LLU market.”

Mulley said that the line share price is one price out of dozens which a company has to pay in order to sell their product over Eircom’s existing copper. “IrelandOffline is campaigning to make the whole LLU process less enigmatic and more cost competitive so that telcos can stop relying on one wholesale product and can create their own products which will lead to more variety and competition for the consumer. Currently in Ireland out of 1.7m phone lines only 2500 have been unbundled.”

By John Kennedy