Wednesday 28 September 2016

Telecoms regulator warns of Eir breakup over compliance

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's telecoms regulator has said that the breakup of Eir is a possibility that the watchdog will consider in the face of "concerns" over regulatory compliance. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Jeremy Godfrey said that Comreg might consider "separation-type remedies" for Ireland's biggest telecoms operator after an investigation into Eir's practices is concluded.

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"We have seen a number of breaches of regulatory obligations," said Mr Godfrey. "We have seen quite a slow pace of response to requests. That has created some concern about whether or not compliance with regulatory obligations is sufficiently institutionalised within Eir."

However, he said that initiating a breakup of the company would be "more intrusive and require a higher burden of evidence before we could conclude it was necessary." He also said that it would require the approval of the European Commission.

Mr Godfrey said that Eir deserved credit for completing the "unprecedented" move of publishing an audit that identified areas where it was not in compliance with regulatory rules.

"I don't think anybody believes that incumbents across Europe are all squeaky clean and that it's only in Ireland where you get problems of non-compliance," he said. "We haven't got a view on the extent to which what Eir has done is fit for purpose. But we think it's really important that we should now get that view."

Mr Godfrey said that Comreg is to redefine what "functional internet access" is in Ireland, saying current standards are too low.

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