ComReg consults on eir’s request for a phased copper switch-off

25 Jan 2017

Ireland’s telecoms industry regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), has launched a public consultation on the national PTO eir’s request to transition from its copper network in some parts of the country. The company said in a letter to the regulator: ‘eir is modernising its network facilities and within the next two to three years, we anticipate there will be geographic areas with widespread availability of next generation access facilities … As the utilisation of the legacy [copper] network declines, it will not be economically efficient for eir to maintain parallel next generation and [copper] networks and services. eir would therefore like to be in a position to undertake the orderly and timely retirement of legacy networks and services.’ The company, however, has been cited by The Independent as saying that it would not withdraw such legacy network services from areas that do not have access to fibre technologies, adding: ‘We have a vision of an all-IP network, based on a EUR400 million [USD429 million] investment in fibre plus an additional EUR200 million for a further 300,000 homes. That means we can retire these legacy services.’

In its public consultation, the ComReg is asking for input on the potential implications of a transition from eir’s existing copper access network to a new infrastructure. In particular, whether and under what circumstances eir (which is currently designated as holding Significant Market Power [SMP] in certain regulated markets) would be allowed to withdraw access to its copper access network in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) intervention area. All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 17 February 2017.

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