New Commissioner appointed at ComReg

12 Oct 2011

Alex Chisholm, the chairman of Ireland’s telecoms watchdog ComReg, has been re-appointed commissioner for the next four years and will remain chairman until October 2012. A new commissioner, Kevin O’Brien, has also been appointed to ComReg.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, TD, made the appointments today. reported earlier this week that commissioner Mike Byrne will be leaving ComReg and will take up the role of CEO at GS1 Ireland in January.

Challenges include ‘accelerated rollout of next-gen broadband in Ireland’

Rabbitte said the changes at commissioner level come at an important time in telecommunications and postal areas. The minister noted that delivery of next-generation broadband across Ireland is a key priority and an area in which ComReg will play a significant role.

He noted, in particular, the proposed spectrum auction to be administered by ComReg will release valuable spectrum to the market for enhanced mobile and fixed wireless broadband services. ComReg will also play a key role in shaping the wholesale arrangements for next-generation broadband services and the commission is an observer on the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce.

Full postal liberalisation and implementation of the 3rd EU Telecoms Reform package are also key ongoing challenges for ComReg.

Rabbitte approved O’Brien’s appointment following an open competition for the post conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS), and following the retirement of John Doherty in December 2010.

O’Brien has held a number of positions within the civil service, most recently as principal officer in the energy area of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and also in the communications and broadcasting areas. He also spent some time working in the Ministry of Economic Development in Wellington, New Zealand, as a policy analyst.

Rabbitte also announced the re-appointment of Chisholm as ComReg commissioner for a period of four years with effect from 15 October 2011.

“I would like to congratulate Mr Chisholm and Mr O’Brien on their appointments. I look forward to working with them and with ComReg generally to deliver on key policy priorities across the telecoms and postal sectors and, in particular, the accelerated rollout of next-generation broadband in Ireland,” Rabbitte said.

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