Comreg under fire for not sanctioning Eir over practices

Industry group threatens to take case to European competition authorities

Access to Eir’s broadband and fixed-line network remains a contentious issue amid allegations the former semi-State favours its own retail arm over rivals. Photograph:   Maxwells

Access to Eir’s broadband and fixed-line network remains a contentious issue amid allegations the former semi-State favours its own retail arm over rivals. Photograph: Maxwells

 

Telecoms regulator ComReg has again come under fire for failing to take action against Eir for anti-competitive practices, which rivals have described as “regulatory abuse”.

Also, the umbrella group that represents non-Eir firms such as Sky, Vodafone and BT, claims ComReg has failed to resolve or sanction Eir over six separate non-compliance notices since 2015.

In a letter to ComReg seen by The Irish Times, the group said it was now considering making a formal complaint to the European competition authorities.

“Such an action is a last resort, but as you will appreciate Alto members are not willing to allow their businesses to continue to be subjected to regulatory abuse on foot of resourcing excuses and a failure to take proper compliance action on the part of ComReg,” it said.

Contentious

Eir plans to publish further details of its regulatory compliance position today, which is expected to say that it has resolved most, if not all, of the outstanding issues in relation to competition.

Alto also noted that five months after announcing a review of Eir’s position in the wholesale market and its regulatory governance model, ComReg had still not appointed outside consultants to carry out the study.

A ComReg spokesman said it expected to announced the appointment of consultants in the coming days. The review, which is expected to be published later this year or in early 2017, could pave the way for the functional separation of Eir’s wholesale and retail arms.