[Release] Consumers face massive charges and 12 month delay for phone lines

Damien Mulley - IrelandOffline info at irelandoffline.org
Sun Mar 6 17:15:14 GMT 2005


###BEGINS###

[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE]

 Consumer group IrelandOffline today called into question a new 
consultation document from Communications Regulator ComReg. According 
to IrelandOffline the proposal will force some consumers to wait up to 
12 months to get a new phone line. In addition consumers could end up 
paying thousands of euros to have their line installed.

 "This proposal if allowed in its current fom will mean 5% of consumers 
will be made wait from 6-12 months and have to pay above the standard 
charge if eircom decides to recalculate its costs. The potential for 
abuse of their position is too great and consumers could easily end up 
paying thousands of euros to get a basic phone line. " stated Damien 
Mulley, Chairman of IrelandOffline.
 
The proposals from ComReg allow eircom to take 4 weeks to install a 
line for 50% of applications and up to 12 months to install a line for 
5% of consumers. Currently eircom charge the consumer a flat fee for 
installation no matter what the install costs eircom.  The new 
proposals set a cut off mark at €7000, with eircom absorbing the first 
€7000 and the consumer paying all costs after this. While this may 
appear as if most consumers will not be affected, liberal accounting 
and cost measuring could see prices inflate well above this. Currently 
0.13% of installs go above the cut-off mark but this could climb if 
other costs suddenly get factored in if the proposals are mandated.
  
Spokesman John Timmons added "A Universal Service Obligation* is self- 
explanatory. Adding in stipulations for the benefit of eircom 
invalidates its meaning and is a disservice to the consumer. ComReg 
need to go back and protect every consumer in the USO. Some cannot be 
more equal than others. Everyone must have the same consumer 
protection. "
 
"Eircom takes €450 Million from Irish consumers every year from line 
rental alone. This is more than enough for eircom to ensure universal 
service and keep their lines up to a modern standard. ComReg needs to 
understand this." added Timmons
 
"The current proposals have yet to be mandated and we ask every 
consumer to make their views known to ComReg and their elected 
representatives in order to stop these changes from occuring, or Irish 
people will once again be the ones paying the most in Europe and 
waiting the longest for a serbice that is no longer universal."


“Once again, Irish people will be the ones paying the most in Europe 
for a supposedly universal service that only reaches a percentage of 
the population” said Mulley. "The current proposals have yet to be 
mandated and we ask every consumer to make their views known to ComReg 
and their elected representatives in order to stop these changes from 
occurring”

* Universal Service Obligation (USO) – a specific requirement placed on 
an operator which has been designated to provide certain services to 
all specified persons. For example, eircom is currently required to 
provide basic voice telephony and certain other established 
telecommunications services to anyone who may reasonably request them.

###ENDS###


MEDIA CONTACTS
--------------
Damien Mulley <chairman at irelandoffline.org>
John Timmons <info at irelandoffline.org> Mobile: 087 284 8079



ABOUT IRELANDOFFLINE
--------------------

IrelandOffline is a voluntary organisation consisting of home and
business Internet users unhappy with currently available Internet
connectivity products and services. Its brief is to campaign for the
development of flat-rate and high-speed Internet access services and to
promote innovation and competition in the Irish Internet marketplace.
The group currently represents over 2300 Internet users.

For more information on the organisation, please visit the
IrelandOffline website at http://irelandoffline.org/




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