Major turning point reached in Irish broadband stakes?

1 Jan 2009

Irish fixed line broadband providers have reacted ecstatically to a new price of 75 cents a month for line sharing set out today by ComReg.

ComReg has proposed dramatic changes to the LLU environment in Ireland including a reduction in the cost of shared LLU access to 75 cents as well as proposing that the cost of migrating from bitstream to LLU be reduced to zero.

In June the regulator directed Eircom to reduce its current line share price from €8.41 to a maximum price of €2.94 for an interim period of one year based on the average benchmark price within the EU 15 countries.

However, in June Eircom issued a statutory appeal against this decision and ComReg set aside its original direction.

ComReg, in its decision, made it clear that a thorough analysis of all the economic models for the pricing of line share, while considering other wholesale and retail pricing of Eircom, had not been completed.

This analysis is now complete as part of the Tera report which concluded the incremental cost approach is the most appropriate for the Irish market and has derived an initial estimated price of €0.75 per line per month.

“If the proposals are implemented they could form a turning point for competition in broadband services in Ireland and offer the consumer state of the art services with variety and choice,” BT stated this evening.

“Many other countries have seen significant benefits from LLU and these proposals could at last unlock these in Ireland,” BT said.

John Quinn, head of regulatory affairs at Smart Telecom also welcomed the news. “This is finally, after almost eight years, a very positive move and will encourage investment and new jobs in the telecommunications industry.

“This will lead to new innovation and choice for consumers. It will also drive innovation and encourage investment in next generation networks,” Quinn said.

By John Kennedy

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