Irish broadband tariffs are the highest in the EU

Irish broadband tariffs are the highest in the EU

IrelandOffline, a leading consumer advocacy group today received their copy of the European Broadband Tariffs Database which is Produced Quarterly By Quantum Web (1)

The Analysis shows that Ireland has the most Expensive Broadband packages in the whole of Europe.

According to Quantum Web “‘Ireland’s average tariffs for the 2Mb-8Mb speed band were the highest among EU member states in Q4 2010. The main reason was the high price for bandwidth. Most broadband packages in Ireland are capped and average around EUR33.8 per month; uncapped offers for the 2Mb-8Mb band typically cost more than double the EU average of EUR34.1”(2)

The most common broadband offering is eircom Bitstream which is priced at a national rate and is only presented to other carriers in Dublin. Included in this price we pay a handsome premium to eircom for the national transit journey even though most of their competitors can carry the data to Dublin on their own networks.

As most households and businesses have bundles nowadays we also pay the highest line rental in the World before we even get this Broadband.This ultra anticompetitive agenda is a serious indictment of government policy and of regulation here in Ireland and clearly shows we need a dramatic and new thinking if we are ever to be near “top of class” in broadband pricing and supply.

We call on the incoming government to engage with the stakeholders, including representatives of consumer groups, to ensure that broadband provision and pricing is fit for purpose across the state.

Finally we in Irelandoffline recently noted that eircom intend to charge a minimum 9.5c per call for out of bundle calls, eg to mobiles, from the 11th of March and thereby claw back any gains to the consumer from reduced Mobile call termination charges which are due to take progressive effect in 2011.

The net result is that by October 2011 Ireland will have

1. The most expensive Line Rental in the World.
2. The most expensive Broadband in Europe

and

3. The highest Minimum Call Charges in Europe whether by day or night

All of these failures are routinely presented as a resounding vote of confidence in what Comreg considers to be a functioning market. Comreg play their part by hiding the minimum call charges by using 3 minute rolling averages in their own statistics. Were they to show 1 minute calls we would clearly have the highest call charges in Europe as well.

Commenting on the results of the study Eamonn Wallace of IrelandOffline said:

“This analysis demonstrates the complete and utter failure of successive Ministers and of Comreg to promote effective and consumer centred competition in the Irish marketplace.

Comreg spend all of their time justifying their own failures. Their constant efforts to justify these failures are akin to maintaining that the waterless desert of Telecoms Regulation in Ireland is a much better solution than introducing water to the desert. They should spend more time regulating instead of carefully selecting statistics that gloss over their own failures.”

(1) http://www.quantum-web.com/
(2) http://www.quantum-web.com/press/pr,q111-24.htm

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