Business Irish

Saturday 7 December 2019

Hefty fine for Eircom threatened by ComReg over line faults

Eircom Group Headquarters
Eircom Group Headquarters
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

EIRCOM faces a multi-million-euro fine for failing to fix faulty telephone lines in time and baffling customers with confusing contracts.

According to new figures from Ireland's telecoms regulator (ComReg), over one in four faulty lines remained unfixed two days after they had been reported to the operator.

Under telecoms law, Eircom must meet minimum service standards or face a fine of up to €5m per annum. However, the regulator will wait until the end of the year to consider the scope of any fine. While repairing lines too slowly was one problem, the regulator also found that Eircom was not connecting some customers fast enough.

Eircom faces further trouble with ComReg over making it too difficult for its customers to leave the operator.

The regulator said customers faced an unacceptable risk of a "service break" if they tried to leave Eircom for a rival operator and that Eircom tried to baffle people with confusing "termination" conditions.

It also said that Eircom's stipulation of a month's "written notice" to change operators was a breach of fair competition.

ComReg has given Eircom 21 days to change its practices or face legal action.

Eircom is unhappy with being the only operator in Ireland to bear so-called 'universal service obligation' rules, whereby it must connect any home or business, no matter how remote the location. It is taking an action in the High Court on the basis that it is "unfair" for it to be saddled with the cost of funding a service in remote areas.

Irish Independent

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