An appeal by Eir against several decisions by the Commissioner for Communications Regulation (ComReg) concerning the firm's obligations to provide certain essential services has been admitted to the fast-track commercial court list.
The case was admitted to the list by Mr Justice Robert Haughton at the Commercial Court today.
The appeal arises out ComReg's decision not to provide it with funding in respect of the costs Eir incurred delivering its universal obligations as the State’s designated Universal Service Provider (USP) for services including providing pay phones, providing fixed lines in isolated areas and directory services.
In terms of financing the USP obligations, Eir is entitled to seek funding by making an application to ComReg for the establishment of a sharing mechanism where the net costs can be shared among all providers of electronic communications networks and services in the State.
In 2014, Eir made several applications to compensate it for costs incurred due to its designation as a USP for each year from 2010 to 2015.
After a five-year delay, ComReg found in a decision published last April that while Eir incurred costs of €43m in meeting its obligations during the relative periods, such costs did not represent an unfair burden to Eir.
In its challenge, Eir claims ComReg made a number of significant errors in the manner in which it arrived at its decisions, and wants the court to set those decisions aside.
The alleged errors include that ComReg erred in its assessment of the extent to which Eir's obligations constitutes an unfair burden.
It also claims that ComReg's decisions are discriminatory, unfair and disproportionate and that Comreg breached its statutory obligations.
The application for inclusion in the commercial list was made by Eircom Ltd, represented in court by Jonathan Newman SC. The application was unopposed.
Three Ireland Ltd also applied to the court to become a notice party to the action. The court also heard that Vodafone is considering if it is appropriate that it also becomes a notice party to the action.
The Judge adjourned the matter to a date in early July.