Eircom to challenge ComReg line share reduction

16 Sep 2009

Eircom has lodged an appeal with the High Court against ComReg’s decision to slash the cost of line share to alternative local loop unbundling (LLU) operators from €8.41 to €0.77.

The decision was aimed at making access to Eircom’s local loop (to-the-home) infrastructure more competitive for alternative providers.

Similar decisions to drastically cut this charge in the UK have greatly increased the diversity of suppliers and quality of services available to businesses and consumers alike.

In 2005, BT and Ofcom reached a landmark deal whereby BT agreed not to compete with its bittream product until the UK had 1.5 billion LLU subscribers. BT established a new division called Openreach to provide unbundling services to rivals.

Ofcom said in recent weeks that the number of unbundled lines – where providers like Sky or Carphone Warehouse can offer services directly to customers via unbundled exchanges has reached the 6m mark.

According to alternative operator Magnet Networks, Eircom lodged an appeal with the High Court against ComReg’s decision on Monday evening this week.

“Within 24 hours of STT’s purchase bid being approved by Eircom’s board, the company’s management has lodged an unnecessary and industry-damaging appeal,” Magnet Networks CEO Mark Kellett said.

“Despite a new owner on the horizon, it seems it is business as usual for Eircom.”  

“The use of yet another legal delay tactic by Eircom further impedes any progress in allowing other operators to invest in the network at a time when the country needs it most,” Kellett stormed.

“It is interesting to note that the UK regulator today announced that they are in fact rolling back regulation to favour the incumbent due to a vibrant competitive market. Due to Eircom’s combative approach in Ireland, we are not even out of the starting blocks,” Kellett said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Magnet Networks CEO Mark Kellett.

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