Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment

National Broadband Plan: Discussion

Mr. Jeremy Godfrey:

Eir's price for fibre to the home ranges from €22.30 per month for a 150 Mb per second service up to €38.50 for a 1 Gb per second service. It also charges a €170 upfront wholesale fee, either for the initial connection or for a migration. The precise contractual terms on pricing are a matter for the Government. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister whether it was index linked and the Minister said he would come back to the committee with more information about that. The Department's synopsis of the contract refers to detailed price control mechanisms, but as it has not disclosed in detail what those mechanisms are, it is not possible for me to go beyond them. I refer to the precise way in which benchmarking to the market is carried out. Although the price is not set by ComReg, it is set in the context of a regulated market, so exactly how that price is chosen is a matter for the Department, as I said. The Deputy will see that it is within the range of prices that Eir charges in the context of the regulation we put in place.

The Deputy asked us what our role might be in the future. Again, this depends on how the contract finally turns out. As the Department has said, there are detailed rules to control the prices and how they will evolve over time. To the extent that ComReg has information, insights or technical expertise that are useful to the Minister or are representative in applying those provisions of the contract, then it would be natural for ComReg to be asked to provide that advice, input or expertise. Subject to us having the appropriate statutory mandate and resources to do that, we would be happy to do so. As Mr. Blaney said, the resource conversation with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Department of Finance has resulted in us getting the resources we required for our day-to-day business, which includes the resources we would need for continuing wholesale regulation under the significant market power regime, which includes the continuing scrutiny of the duct and pole price. That is just part of business as usual for us. It is not specifically national broadband plan related, although it is relevant. However, the specific resources that might be needed to advise the Minister on post-contract governance issues are something that will be determined once the contract is finalised.


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