Friday 19 July 2019

Telecoms firms warn they will take EU legal action after Eir 'interferes' in National Broadband Plan


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Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Eight major Irish telecoms operators have said that they will consider EU legal action if the Government yields to "tactical interference" by Eir in National Broadband Plan.

Through industry association Alto, the firms - which do not include NBP 'preferred bidder' National Broadband Ireland - rounded on Eir, accusing the company of trying to subvert the State-subsidised roll-out to 540,000 homes.

"If the tactical interference in a public procurement process, grounded in State Aid law and rules, is seen to have borne fruit then it will be appropriate to bring such a matter to the attention of the European Commission Directorates General Competition and Information Society for further investigation," said the letter from Alto.

The group was responding to Eir's offer that if the Government abandons the NBP's protections and regulations, it could roll out a broadband network for less than the €2.9bn subsidy outlined by the Department of Communications.

The Government rejected Eir's approach, arguing that the cost difference is smaller than Eir says, that rural householders would have less protection, and that such a large subsidy would require a tendering process.

An Eir spokesman said: "We're not interfering, we were asked a question by the Oireachtas Committee."

Irish Independent

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