Eir fined €1.5m for breaching fault repair obligations

Regulator Comreg imposes fine after company fails to hit performance targets for 2016

At the end of last year Eir  was forced to pay over €3m to the regulator for performance breaches in 2015 when  storms knocked out phone services across rural parts of the State

At the end of last year Eir was forced to pay over €3m to the regulator for performance breaches in 2015 when storms knocked out phone services across rural parts of the State

 

Telecoms firm Eir has been fined €1.5 million for breaching its regulatory obligations in relation to fault repair times.

Regulator Comreg imposed the fine after the State’s largest telco failed to hit a series of performance targets in relation to fixed-line services in 2016.

Specifically, the company failed to repair 95 per cent of reported faults within four working days and 100 per cent within 10 working days. Eir declined to comment.

This is the second big fine imposed on Eir by regulator Comreg within the last 12 months. At the end of last year the company was forced to pay over €3 million to the regulator for similar performance breaches in 2015, when a series of storms knocked out phone services across rural parts of the State.

Under the State’s universal social obligation (USO), Eir is legally obliged to provide rural phone services even if they are uneconomic to operate. Essentially it must connect homes and businesses in rural areas up to a cost of €7,000, after which the customer must cover part of the connection cost.

Under the USO, the company is also obliged to hit a number of service performance targets set down by Comreg.

Legal proceedings

Last year Eir initiated legal proceedings against its universal social provider designation, claiming it should no longer be saddled with the cost of connecting uneconomic lines with the advent of broadband and mobile phone services.

The case was later settled without any award or change in Eir’s designation. An out-of-court settlement agreement was reached between the parties and in March, the proceedings were struck out.

As part of the settlement it was agreed Eir would pay ComReg a penalty of €1.5 million for non-compliance with its USO quality of service performance obligations.

Comreg said it would continue to closely monitor Eir’s USO performance, and would publish quarterly reports on the company’s performance, while noting it did not intend to take further enforcement action against Eir in respect of 2016.