ComReg likely to lower Eir’s fibre broadband connection fee
Open Eir currently charges €270 to connect homes located 50m from its network
ComReg is likely to lower the maximum fee Eir can charge to connect customers to its fibre broadband infrastructure. Photograph: Maxwells
Eir’s wholesale arm, Open Eir, currently charges retailers using its network a fee of €270 to connect customers with a direct “fibre-to-the-home” service if they are located more than 50 metres away from its network. Retailers can either absorb the cost or pass it on to customers. Eir’s retail arm currently waives the cost.
ComReg said it was currently consulting on the issue and that a decision had yet to be made. However, sources indicated the fee was likely to be significantly reduced.
The price eventually decided on will provide a reference point for the costs of rolling out new technologies, including fibre broadband, as part of the Government’s National Broadband Plan, which is expected to use predominantly fibre-to-the-home technology.
It is expected that parts of the NBP will utilise Eir’s existing commercial infrastructure. How much the company will charge will be key to determining the bids and ultimately the State subsidy required.
“For homes and businesses within 50 metres of the network access point or that already have infrastructure installed, such as ducting on their property to deliver telecoms services, then Open Eir will deliver the fibre connection either as an aerial connection or alternatively will utilise the ducting that is in place on behalf the retail operator that is providing the service,” Eir said in a statement.
“In circumstances where the building is more than 50 metres away from the network access point and there is no existing ducting, then the customer will have to conduct the appropriate works to install infrastructure on their property,” it said.
“Once that work is completed, Open Eir will then install the cable into the duct and complete the connection and install the equipment into the home or business.”
Eir estimates that for 95 per cent of the 300,000 premises covered by the commitment contract that was signed by Eir and the Government, the premises are located within 50 metres of the network access point or customers have existing infrastructure in place.
“Therefore in the vast majority of cases, customers will not incur cost to install infrastructure on their property,” the company said.
However, it also noted the costs of installing infrastructure on private land will vary according to the specific circumstances of that customer.
“Separately, there is a wholesale connection fee charged by Open Eir . . . and this is currently €270. It is then up to the retail operator to decide if that charge is passed on to the end customer,” it added.