Broadband provider Eircom has reached an agreement with regulator ComReg in an out-of-court settlement, Business Technology reports. The Irish operator was designated a universal service operator (USO) by the country’s regulator in July, under which title it would be expected to provide telephone services to any rural premises requiring them. Eircom argued that this would lead to extra costs – including up to EUR7,000 (around USD8,750) on infrastructure for any customers building homes in remote areas, with the customer then able to choose rival providers to operate over the infrastructure – and force the broadband provider to subsidise rural user costs by increasing urban-dweller’s bills. ComReg has agreed to establish a ‘performance improvement programme’ and to begin consultations on universal service provider obligations. Eircom is to offer refunds to subscribers incurring network outages for over ten working days as well as provide a penalty payment for performance quality issues over the last two years.