New commissioners appointed

31 Oct 2002

The Minister for Communication, Marine and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern TD, has announced the appointment of two new commissioners who will join present telecoms regulator Etain Doyle (pictured) at the about-to-be-formed Commission for Communications Regulation (CCR).

Following an extensive process of interviews and background checks, the two people who will join Doyle in creating the new three-person commission to replace the Office of the Director of Telecommunications Regulation (ODTR) are John Doherty, a recently appointed deputy director of the current ODTR, and Isolde Goggin, a former Ericsson and Eircom employee currently specialising in telecoms issues at the Competition Authority.

A member of the telecoms industry, who wished not to be identified, indicated that the appointment of Goggin in itself would auger well for the industry in Ireland in the future. “The new EU framework for telecoms will mean major changes in competition rules and it will help Ireland significantly to have someone capable of implementing these changes in a fast and efficient manner,” he said.

The appointment of the three-person commission came about as a result of the long delayed Communications Bill, which was passed by the Dáil just before the General Election in May. The bill grants the present ODTR and the forthcoming CCR greater punitive powers to tackle telecoms operators that fail to operate within the remit of their licences. Before the bill became law, the regulator could only impose a fine of €1,900, a drop in the ocean for a company such as Eircom, which during the year was embroiled in a legal battle with the ODTR over wholesale digital subscriber line rates. Under the new law, a fine of up to 10pc of an errant firm’s annual revenues could be stamped. For example, a potential fine of €254m could be imposed in the case of Eircom.

By John Kennedy