The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) today set binding minimum quality standards for the delivery of the telephone universal service.
Eircom is currently the Universal Service Provider (USP) charged with ensuring that all citizens have access to a functional fixed-line telephone service.
The standards require eircom to provide consumers with a better and more consistent level of service in the areas of installation times, the level of fault occurrence and the time required to repair faults.
“The targets published by ComReg today will ensure that consumers benefit from better quality fixed-line phone services,” said ComReg commissioner Alex Chisholm.
“Eircom will need to provide telephone connections more quickly, to manage its network so that fewer faults occur, and to repair faults promptly when they do occur.
“This will be of considerable benefit to residential and business users of the public telephone network, and indeed to the telecoms sector as a whole.”
With regard to fault occurrence, eircom’s performance has deteriorated over the last two years, according to ComReg, which claims that the high levels of faults experienced in 2006 and 2007 compare unfavourably with international experience.
Specific and binding targets have been set for bringing fault rates down year-on-year, thereby improving users’ experience of the telephone service.
In relation to installation times, ComReg’s concerns include the welfare of customers who are having to wait more than six months - and in some cases more than a year - for connection to the public telephone network.
Targets have therefore been set to require all installations to be made within six months, and 80% of all requests to be met within 24 hours or two weeks, according to the type of request.
For fault repairs, ComReg has moved to tighten up the speed at which repairs are made, so that 80% of repairs must be completed within two working days, and 95% repaired by the time agreed with the customer.