Ireland’s telecoms regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has re-designated former monopoly fixed line operator Eircom as the Republic’s Universal Service Provider (USP) for a two-year period to June 2014, following a public consultation. The watchdog sees universal service as a key basic tenet for the Irish people and aims to ensure that basic telephony services are available at an affordable price to all end-users.
In its press release, ComReg notes that Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament was amended by Directive 2009/136/EC (‘the Amending Directive’), which has been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Universal Service and Users’ Rights) Regulations 2011, S.I. No. 337 of 2011. As a result of the re-designation of Eircom’s USP status, the carrier’s universal service obligations include:- Provision of access at a fixed location - Provision of a printed telephone directory - Provision of public pay telephones - Provision of services to consumers with disabilities - Provision of measures to assist consumers control their expenditure and affordability measures.
The Amending Directive provides that consumers with disabilities should have equal access to and choice of electronic communication services available to all consumers. ComReg will shortly commence a consultation process regarding proposed measures to facilitate equivalent access and choice for consumers with disabilities.