Irish communications regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has issued a draft decision under which it has proposed a further extension of its COVID-19 temporary licensing framework – under which licences are currently due to expire on 1 October 2021. In short, ComReg has proposed that the temporary licensing framework will be extended by the implementation of a ‘Further Temporary ECS Licence (No. 3)’, for a period of up to three calendar months. Meanwhile, there will be scope for one final renewal for a further period, though it has been stipulated that that secondary extension will see temporary concessions expire no later than 1 April 2022.
Of note, in publishing its draft decision ComReg said that it expects this to be its final proposal to put in place a further temporary licensing framework, suggesting that there have been ‘significant changes in the prevailing circumstances relevant to any further temporary licensing framework’; these, it said, included the government having set out its plan for the final phase of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2021. Meanwhile, noting the importance of consulting close to the expiry date of the existing licensing framework, and with a stated aim of ‘progressing matters expeditiously due to the nature of the Temporary Situation’, ComReg is employing a greatly accelerated consultation process, with submissions requested by a deadline of 13 September 2021.