ComReg unhappy at eircom’s poor network performance

29 May 2008

The Irish telecoms regulator ComReg yesterday published a scathing assessment of former monopoly fixed line operator eircom’s recent network performance, which it says has worsened in the last two years, leading to a higher incidence of line faults that ‘compare unfavourably’ with other international markets. The watchdog said there was strong evidence that the incumbent was investing less than it should to maintain its PSTN, leading to the higher fault levels and resulting in ‘significant negative consequences’ for users. ComReg issued a detailed report on eircom’s performance in Q4 2007, highlighting that the proportion of faults per 100 lines was 6.3 for residential customers and 2.7 for business customers; the fastest 80% of repairs for residential customers took an average of 28.6 hours to be completed and 24.2 hours for business customers; and that the fastest 95% of repairs took on average 65.8 hours for residential customers and 59.5 hours for business customers. The report also showed that 95.39% of all requests by residential customers for a telephone line connection were completed within four weeks, above the existing target of 60%. The figure for business customers was 94.7%.

In a bid to improve the operator’s performance, ComReg revealed plans to introduce new minimum quality standards for the carrier that will force it to reduce waiting times for new phone line installations and line fault repairs. The regulator has set new targets under eircom’s universal service obligation (USO) stipulating that 80% of repairs must be completed within two working days, and 95% must be repaired by the time agreed with the customer. eircom will also have to ensure that phone installations are completed within six months and that 80% of orders should be fulfilled within 24 hours.