Irish telcos endorse EU-wide broadband competition

15 Nov 2007

ALTO [Association of Licensed Telecom Operators], the representative body for Irish telcos, has spoken out in support of the new regulatory framework from the European Commission, calling it a “further move towards a more competitive telecommunications market in Europe”.

“In Ireland, there is a continuing need to regulate the leased-line and transit markets, where Eircom has SMP [Significant Market Power],” said Liam O’Halloran, chairman of ALTO.

“Ireland has a long way to go before being considered a competitive market in many segments and we are well down the scale in comparison to other economies.”

These proposals, which would lead to the European Telecom Market Authority having more power to enforce competitive practice, have not yet been passed into law. It must be approved by EU governments as well as the European Parliament.

“While ALTO approves of the creation of a single European telecom market, OfCom, the UK telecommunications regulation body, is opposed, saying that its power would undermine national bodies such as itself.”

Innocenzo Genna, chairman of ECTA, said: “We believe this to be a strong package overall and one that will result in real investment and competition in high-speed broadband across Europe.

“The framework has provided the tools, including functional separation and the extension of access markets to include fibre to ensure the smooth rollout of next-generation networks [NGNs], and the sharing, where necessary, of the substantial costs required to deliver it.”

By Marie Boran