The Irish government has published its Communications Regulation (Amendment) Bill, which is being touted by some as the state’s attempt to finally bring some order to its disparate and outmoded electronic communications legislation. One of the central tenets of the 76-page proposal document advocates the strengthening of the regulator, the Communication Regulation (ComReg), to give it powers akin to the Irish Competition Authority. Under new rules put forward, ComReg would be able to instigate and carry out its own investigations. It would also be allowed to force telecoms operators to abide by EU and Irish law, and impose more severe financial penalties (up to 10% of the operator’s turnover) on anyone found in breach of the rules. In addition, a new offence has been created to combat telcos which fail to provide ComReg with information when requested, and a confidentiality clause has been brought in to protect any so-called ‘whistle blowers’ who may look to help the regulator by disclosing information.
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