Eir broadband price hike unjustified, say rival telecom firms

Company has raised wholesale broadband prices for second time in 14 months.

Eir chief executive Richard Moat. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Telecom firms have hit out at Eir for raising wholesale broadband prices for the second time in 14 months.

The company’s standard monthly fibre package for operators renting space on its network has been increased from €19.50 to €23.

The hike comes on the back of a €2 increase in July last year, meaning prices have risen 31 per cent since last year.

Alto, the umbrella group that represents non-Eir operators such as Vodafone and Sky, have already signalled the price increase will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher broadband prices.


Monopoly provider

“These unjustified price increases ultimately push prices up for everyone in a market where Eir is the monopoly provider of wholesale broadband,” the group said in a statement.

"In Ireland, broadband prices already benchmark high by European standards and this is viewed as a very cynical move by the industry and Alto members, to further enlarge Eir's profits following the recent regulated enforced price reduction for their legacy product," spokesman Ronan Lupton said.

“Arbitrary price increases fly in the face of competition, stymie innovation and, worryingly, have the potential (due to the impact on overall broadband take-up due to excessive pricing), to jeopardise the roll-out of rural broadband and the National Broadband Plan,” he added.

Eir has defended the rate increase, insisting that when combined with a recent reduction in its traditional fixed-line rental rates the change is broadly price neutral.

The company also linked the increase to its increased investment in high-speed fibre broadband.

“We believe it is fair that we can make a reasonable return on investment that delivers much-improved services,” the company said previously.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times