Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (482)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

482. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on correspondence regarding fixed line charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8798/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Telecommunications services providers operate in a fully liberalised market. Neither I nor the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), the market regulator, has statutory authority to impose regulated maximum retail price limits on service providers operating in a competitive market. ComReg does have statutory authority to impose a universal service obligation (USO) on one or more service providers to ensure all reasonable requests for a basic set of telecommunications service are available at fixed locations throughout the State. The current USO, which is addressed to Eircom, limits the amount by which telephone line charges can be increased to the annual change in the consumer price index and includes the operation of a low usage scheme "eircom vulnerable user scheme", which can benefit users who have consistently low usage charges, currently less than €17.21 per month.