Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 5 June 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment
National Broadband Plan: Discussion
I have two further questions. The delegates stated the ownership issue was not a matter for ComReg. However, I argue that it must be at the heart of its mission to regulate a market in which we do not have competition in circumstances where the State is effectively creating that monopoly. In the case of the previous monopoly, when Eir was transferred to private ownership, the State was paid €3 billion, of which the union received one third. That was the deal - the private operator got the network and the State the money. In the case of broadband, we are creating a monopoly where we give the money and the private operator gets the network. The ownership question is fundamental in all of this. Is ComReg not concerned, in its role as regulator, about the nature of the monopoly we are creating? As Deputy Stanley said, it is a strange monopoly in that it involves both the monopoly of the pole owner and the monopoly of the fibreglass owner. Surely ComReg has an interest in the wisdom of creating a private monopoly which will be in place for 40, 50, 60 or 70 years.