The European Commission has backed a proposal by Irish telecoms operator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) to lower the prices Eircom charges competitors to access its network.
European Commissioner for Information Society and the Media, Viviane Reding, pointed out that broadband competition in Ireland is currently being held up by the high access prices charged by Eircom.
“I fully support ComReg’s proposal, as I am convinced that truly cost-oriented prices will be of great benefit to consumers,” said Commissioner Reding.
“Broadband competition in Ireland is currently being held up by the high access prices Eircom charges its competitors, and the Irish regulator is now making very important efforts to foster competition by promoting direct investment in broadband infrastructure.
“This move will allow for greater flexibility and innovation in the provision of broadband internet services, and ultimately lead to wider choice and lower prices for consumers,” Reding said.
As a result of the EU decision, Eircom will have to reduce the fee it charges other operators to access the ‘last mile’ of its infrastructure to provide broadband internet services to homes and businesses.
At present, 96pc of all DSL broadband sold in Ireland is sold either as an Eircom product or is re-sold by other operators.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “ComReg’s proposal is good news for competition and consumers. Alternative operators will have to pay considerably less for access to Eircom’s broadband network. They will thus be in a position to make more attractive retail offers and consumers will get a better choice.”
The news was welcomed by the chief executive of Magnet Networks in Ireland, Mark Kellett: “Magnet welcomes the EU Commissioner’s support of the proposed price reductions. We also note that the EU Commission has recognised that broadband competition in Ireland is currently being held up by the high access prices Eircom charges its competitors.
“We would call on ComReg to move swiftly and decisively to implement these and other planned price reductions to enable Ireland to enjoy the full benefits of competition,” Kellett added.
By John Kennedy