Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eircom cannot be allowed to penalise rural customers - O'Connell

The Chairperson of County Wexford Sinn Féin has called on Comreg to reject an Eircom proposal which he says would penalise customers living in rural areas. Oisín O'Connell described the plan to drop the price of telephone line rental for urban customers as being welcome if it is extended to include all customers, and not enacted in such a manner that it directly penalises rural communities that have poorer service already.

Mr O'Connell said;

"The Irish Government has a long-standing commitment to universality of line rental costs. Eircom's attempt to set up a two-tiered line rental charge system will breach this commitment, and see households in rural areas being penalised a second time. They get a lower quality overall service to begin with. It's unacceptable."

"While action by Eircom that results in customer bill reduction is generally welcome, it should not be at the expense of creating a second-class customer base. That Eircom has approached Comreg with this plan, seems an obvious prelude to enter a broader market in competition with companies like UPC. This suggests that they are already in a position where they can reduce the monthly bill for all customers. It is imprudent, and impudent to demand that 440,000 rural dwellers pay €48 more annually, to get a poorer broadband service - for example -than their fellow citizens in urban areas."

"Comreg should reject this plan. It is both socially and economically beneficial to have flat-rate line access to a national telecommunications network. And we should not pay more for an inferior service."

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