Eircom Ltd is appealing ComReg’s decision designating “Eir, for a five-year period from July 2016 to July 2021, as the Universal Service Obligation” (USO) for the provision of “Access at a ‘Fixed Location” (AFL) for the entire State.
The decision means Eir is required to meet all reasonable requests for access to electronic communication services at fixed locations.
It also requires Eir to meet mandatory achievement targets in regards quality of service, fault repair time, and connection time.
Eir says because of the decision it is obliged in certain circumstances to provide connections to its public communications network supporting telephony and dial up internet access.
This is despite the fact Eir says it may be both uneconomical to do so and mobile phones are widely available and primarily used for making telephone calls.
Eir says in order to meet what it says are “burdensome and expensive” quality of service requirements, it is required to invest significant amounts in its legacy copper electronic communications network which it says is becoming obsolete.
The State is now rolling out high-speed fibre-based broadband networks under the National Broadband Plan Initiative, Eir also adds.
Eir says ComReg erred in law in its decision to re-impose the USO on it.
It claims ComReg has imposed obligations on it that are unreasonable, disproportionate without any legal or factual justification.
Eir says ComReg also used a designation process that was “fundamentally flawed,” has “unlawfully interfered with Eir’s property rights”, and failed to properly explain its decision.
The action, against the Commission for Communications Regulation, was admitted to the fast track Commercial Court list by Mr Justice Brian McGovern.
Eir says that as principal provider of fixed-line electronic communications services it has been designated by ComReg as theUSO for successive periods since 2003 due to its legacy copper network.
It says last July ComReg re-imposed the USO. The designation is under the 2011 European Communities Regulations that govern electronic communications networks and services. Eir has five requests for funding totalling €45m before ComReg.