Wednesday, 5 October 2022
Communications Regulation Bill 2022: Second Stage
Darren O'Rourke (Meath East, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate. The Communications Regulation Bill is a technical piece of legislation but one with important implications for telecommunications providers and their customers. The primary aim of the Bill is to transpose the European electronic communications code and the EU-wide regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector. This Bill aims to provide ComReg with stronger regulatory and consumer protection powers, which is very welcome. ComReg's most recent annual report highlights that it received approximately 79,000 contacts from customers over a 12-month period, highlighting the demand placed on the regulator from consumers and the need for robust powers to ensure high standards are met in the telecoms sector.
The following comments are not unique to Eir but, some time ago, the communications committee called Eir in front of it to address the high level of complaints about its standard of customer service. ComReg told us at that time that 65% of all complaints made to the regulator were from Eir customers. This chimed with the incredible amount of correspondence we received as Deputies and local councillors from people who had a dreadful customer service experience with that company. The level of anger and frustration from people who dealt with Eir and who got in touch at the time of the hearing was off the scale - it was really quite remarkable, from old to young and in all parts of the country. Eir apologised at the committee and committed to improving its service but the entire saga highlighted how weak the regulator was. In truth, ComReg has been operating with one hand tied behind its back, which has allowed poor standards and customer service problems to go unaddressed.