Incumbent operator Eircom has applied to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) for the setting up of a fund for what it claims will cover the net costs of meeting its universal service obligations (USO) for the carrying of Ireland’s telephone services.
The USO is the defined minimum set of telephone services that Eircom must provide the Irish nation. Eircom was designated the universal service provider for the State in July 2006 for a period of four years.
Under EU law, in cases where the universal service provider’s obligations give rise to a net cost that the company claims is an unfair burden, the member State concerned must finance the net cost.
ComReg says that before it assesses the substance of Eircom’s claims a relevant period must be defined for which the net costs will be examined.
As well as this, ComReg has called for clarity in terms of procedures for handling further funding requests from Eircom.
Until these requests are met, ComReg said it does not intend to address Eircom’s request.
ComReg said that Eircom’s application for funding for net costs should relate to the financial period that began in April 2006 and not any earlier.
It said that further applications for funding should be done on an annual basis at the end of Eircom’s financial year.
By John Kennedy