Eircom pays out €700k to customers over outages
Eircom has paid out refunds of €700,000 in total to almost 12,000 customers for landline outages that lasted over 10 days during the first three months of 2014.
The operator, which has also agreed to compensate those who suffered landline outages in the last three months of 2014, agreed to the payout after a legal settlement with the telecoms regulator, Comreg.
The settlement involves refunds of €600,000 to residential customers and €100,000 to businesses which found themselves without landline services for more than a week-and-a-half, between the end of December 2013 and April 30 of last year, a period when the country was battered by high winds and storms.
However, it was not asked to issue a refund for broadband-related outages during the same period, as these do not fall under telecoms 'universal service' rules.
The move comes just months after Comreg revealed it fined Eircom €2.5m for failing to fix customer lines in time.
The regulator found that Eircom missed key targets in repairing faulty lines, while more than a quarter of lines remained unfixed two days after they had been reported to the operator.
Eircom also missed further line repair targets of within five and 10 working days, but these fell short by a small margin.
Under telecoms law, Eircom must meet minimum service standards or face fines of up to €5m per year.
However, the operator has said it will commit to more spending to improve its record, including an additional €14m over the next two years on "preventative maintenance" measures to counteract predictable damage to phone line infrastructure.
There are over a million phone landlines in the country.
Eircom is trialling new fibre broadband services in regional towns, with the first project in Belcarra, Co Mayo.
The new service, which exists independently of its landline network, promises to deliver up to 1,000Mbs per second.
Separately, last month 12,000 Irish premium rate subscribers were refunded €390,000 by Dragonfly Mobile Limited, operators of a premium rate mobile quiz service.
The service, which charged consumers up to €12.50 per week, was not in compliance with rules and provisions of the telecoms regulator's Premium Rate Service Code of Practice.
Meanwhile, 3 Ireland has apologised to almost two million Irish mobile phone users after an outage that knocked out phone, texting and data coverage for several hours on Monday.
An electrical fault in the operator's data centre was to blame.
The outage mainly affected users of the company's recently acquired O2 network, which counts 1.5 million O2 customers and 300,000 Tesco Mobile customers as users.