ComReg vows to contest Eircom’s case


18 Feb 2005

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The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) will contest Eircom’s judicial review preventing the implementation of enforcement proceedings over local loop unbundling (LLU), a spokesman for the regulator has told siliconrepublic.com.

Yesterday the High Court granted Eircom a judicial review against enforcement proceedings taken by ComReg, whereby the regulator threatened Eircom with legal action and possible financial penalties over the issue.

ComReg had issued two draft directions to Eircom in order to speed up the process of LLU whereby other operators could gain access to the various telecoms exchanges dotted around the country. Such a move is envisaged to speed up the rollout of broadband and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.

In 1999 when the Irish telecoms market was deregulated one of the first priorities to be signalled was LLU or ‘the last mile’. However, as of this year, out of 1,000 exchanges countrywide only 40 exchanges and some 2,500 lines have been unbundled.

On Wednesday the regulator issued Eircom with an ultimatum whereby the company had until 11am today to comply with the directions or face enforcement proceedings. Last night’s granting of a judicial review by the High Court, however, grants Eircom a stay whereby it will not have to comply with ComReg’s directions until a decision has been made.

It is understood that Eircom succeeded in obtaining the judicial review on the basis that it did not have sufficient time to respond to ComReg’s ultimatum. A spokesman for Eircom told siliconrepublic.com: “At the moment the High Court has decided that we do not have to implement the changes that ComReg has demanded because of our appeal.”

A ComReg spokesman said: “ComReg regards this as a serious matter and will be contesting the case when it comes before the court.”

By John Kennedy