ComReg consulting on fate of public payphone USO

1 Oct 2018

Ireland’s Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has launched a consultation aimed at determining whether a universal service obligation (USO) should continue to apply for public payphones.

With fixed line incumbent eir’s designation as the universal service provider (USP) for payphone services having been set to expire at the end of June 2018, that month ComReg proposed extending the designation for a three-month period. Having subsequently confirmed the extension – eir’s role as USP now scheduled to run until 15 October – the regulator is currently working to determine what should happen after that date.

According to ComReg, the purpose of the latest consultation is to ‘ensure that the reasonable needs of end users will continue to be met’, and it is seeking the views of stakeholders on whether a USO should continue to apply for public payphone services, and if so what approach is likely to provide the ‘most optimum safety net to meet the reasonable needs of end-users’. In addition, ComReg is also seeking expressions of interest for being a USP for these services beyond the interim designation period, should a USO continue to apply. With a deadline of 5 October having been set for responses, the watchdog has said that once it has considered these it many consult further on the matter, or issue a final decision.