According to the online news portal SiliconRepublic.com, Irish incumbent eircom has applied to the regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), to request the setting up of a fund to help cover the net costs of meeting its national universal service obligations (USO). Under the current USO, signed in July 2006, eircom is required to provide a minimum set of telephony services to the whole of the country for the four years to 2010. However, the former monopoly is arguing that EU law, where the universal service provider’s obligations result in a net cost that it considers an ‘unfair burden’, the state authority concerned must finance the net cost. ComReg has responded by saying that before it can accurately assess eircom’s claim, it must first define a ‘relevant period’ for which the net costs can be examined. In addition, it is seeking greater clarity regarding the procedures for dealing with any future funding requests from eircom, and says that until these criterion have been addressed it will not consider the incumbent’s claims.
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