Ireland has highest line rental on Earth, say lobbyists

26 Mar 2009

Reacting to the recent EU Commission report on broadband, lobby group IrelandOffline has hit out at the revelation that Ireland’s line rental is officially the most expensive in the EU, if not the world.

Commenting on the report, IrelandOffline chairperson Eamonn Wallace said: “These figures are simply disgraceful and sickening, but sadly they are very much as expected.

The EU report showed that the cost of Irish line rental, at €25.74 a month, towers above most other EU nations. For example, the closest price to Ireland’s is €18.40 in Belgium. The EU average is about €15.50, and the lowest line rental charges are in Latvia, at €4.92 a month.

Wallace pointed out that the report comes at a time when Ireland is facing grave challenges in maintaining a competitive environment in many areas.

“Regulators such as the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) must represent the interests of Irish consumers and Irish businesses as a starting principle, and not as an optional add-on package to an outdated ideology.

“Clearly its ‘emphasis’ on promoting competition has failed to deliver a competitive environment, and once again Irish consumers are suffering from inflated prices.”

Wallace said that a legal precedent was established when the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD, directed that electricity prices be reduced, and called for a similar move on line rental charges.

The lobby group is also calling for a root-and-branch reform of the system of what it terms ‘gentlemanly regulation’, especially in the field of telecommunications, with the interests of consumers as a priority in the new system.

“The consumers of Ireland simply cannot afford to pay any longer for the total failure of our ‘gentlemanly’ regulatory system,” Wallace said.

By John Kennedy