Minister Ryan appoints Alex Chisholm as New Chairperson of the Commission for Communication Regulation
Commenting on the appointment Minister Ryan said “High speed broadband is critical for the Smart Economy which is the foundation for the Government’s economic recovery plan. ComReg’s role in creating the necessary regulatory conditions to facilitate investment and ensure healthy competition in the telecoms and broadband markets is all the more important now and I have every confidence that Mr Chisholm has the qualities to fulfil this role at what is a particularly challenging time for the industry. I wish him well”
Mr Chisholm will succeed Mr John Doherty who has held the position of Chairperson for the last 2 years. Mr Doherty, while continuing in his role as ComReg Commissioner, has recently taken up the position as Chairperson of the Body European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The Minister paid tribute to Mr Doherty “I would like to take this opportunity to thank John for the considerable contribution he has made in the past two years as Chairperson of ComReg and I wish him every success in his role as Chairperson of the BEREC. John will bring his extensive experience and commitment to this new challenge”.
Minister Ryan also paid tribute to Commissioner Mike Byrne on his appointment as Vice Chairperson of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) with a view to becoming chairperson in November 2010. “It is a tribute to Ireland that both Commissioners Doherty and Byrne have been appointed to such high-level international positions. It is recognition of the high regard in which Ireland is held and is a great personal honour for them both.”
Note to Editors
Mr Chisholm’s appointment is in keeping with the practice of rotating the Chair of ComReg. The other two members of the three-person Commission, Mr John Doherty and Mr Mike Byrne have held the position in the past. Mr Chisholm was appointed to the Commission in 2007.
Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) replaces the European Regulators Group and acts as an exclusive forum for cooperation among national regulatory authorities (NRAs), and between NRAs and the Commission, in the exercise of the full range of their responsibilities under the EU regulatory framework.
BEREC is made up of the heads of the 27 national telecoms regulators. Decisions will be taken, as a rule, by two-thirds majority and by simple majority when BEREC gives opinions in the context of the Commission’s analysis of measures notified to the European Commission by national regulators. BEREC decisions will be prepared with the support of independent experts. BEREC will also advise, support and complement the independent work of national telecoms regulators, especially when it comes to regulatory decisions with cross-border aspects.
The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) was created by a European Commission Decision in 2002.Comprising the national spectrum authorities of the 27 EU Member States, the RSPG provides the Commission with advice on high level policy matters in relation to spectrum. Representatives of the EEA countries, the European Parliament and the regional and international bodies may attend as observers. Before being transmitted to the Commission, the RSPG’s expert opinions are submitted to public consultations of all spectrum users, both commercial and non-commercial, as well as any other interested stakeholders. The RSPG therefore constitutes a unique platform for Member States, the Commission and all relevant stakeholders to discuss and co-ordinate regulation of radio spectrum.
The 2009 ECTA* Regulatory Scorecard, which benchmarks the telecoms regulatory framework in 18 European countries, shows Ireland performing well when it comes to its legislative environment and policy but is generally weaker on the resulting regulatory and market outcomes .
Ireland, together with the UK and Norway, scored highest for the efficiency of its regulatory authority. However, the price Ireland’s dominant player eircom charges for a competitor to access the ‘local loop’ is the highest in Europe at €431 per annum compared to €206 in the Netherlands.
Overall Ireland scored 6th position on the scorecard out of 18 EU member states, jumping from 12th position last year with the UK top of the table. The improvement is attributed to improved regulatory processes and relatively progressive policy proposals concerning next generation networks.
Commenting on the findings Ronan Lupton, Chairman of ALTO, which represents the alternative telecommunications sector in Ireland said: "While ComReg should be commended for scoring so highly it is clear that major obstacles still exist for effective competition in Ireland. Access charges to the incumbent’s network is still the highest in the EU and stifles profitable investment. We would call on the Minister to issue tighter policy directions to ComReg and ensure competitive services are available to Irish consumers."
Additional findings of the report as they relate to Ireland include:
- ComReg achieved strong performance for being able to conduct market analyses decisions in an efficient and transparent manner and have also been able to act effectively as dispute settlement bodies.
- For economic market conditions, Ireland scored the worst alongside Turkey and the Czech Republic. For voice, business services and mobile services Ireland was very weak on competition with competitive weaknesses identified in the broadband environment in particular.
- Time to port a telephone number ranges from 1 day in Ireland and Germany to more than 45 days in Poland.
General findings include:
- Countries with lowest prices tend to have higher penetration rates.
- Overall where LLU and cable providers have a higher penetration rate access speeds are higher. Where the incumbent has a higher level of penetration (and typically a higher share of the market), broadband access speeds do not increase significantly.
- Overall LLU helps to expand the broadband market and where LLU has a significant level of penetration the incumbent does not lose sales. In other words LLU is good for consumers (more people subscribe), good for competitors and is not negative for incumbents.
In launching the report ECTA urged the European Parliament and Council to use the opportunity of the Review of the Telecoms Framework to send a clear signal supporting the need for consistent and effective regulation to address dominance in the telecoms sector and to fully empower national regulators.
Innocenzo Genna, Chairman of ECTA said: "Now more than ever, politicians need to help consumers and businesses through the economic crisis by stimulating investment and innovation by all players, lowering costs and boosting business productivity. The results of the Regulatory Scorecard have repeatedly shown that relaxing rules on dominant telecoms firms is not the way to deliver any of these objectives."
ALTO, the association for Alternative Operators in the Communications Market, was established in 1998 to represent the interests of new operators entering Ireland’s telecoms market.
ALTO represents its members with regulatory authorities and policy makers such as the government, the EU, ComReg and the Competition Authority to ensure a competitive and fair business environment in which members can operate successfully. Members also benefit from effective intelligence gathering on current and future legislative and regulatory developments.
Members include: BT Ireland, Budget Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Chorus, Colt Telecom, Complete Networks, Digitweb, ESB Telecoms, Magnet Networks, NTL, Smart Telecom, TalkTalk, Verizon and 3 Play Plus.
For more information visit www.alto.ie
About the 2008 ECTA Regulatory Scorecard
The Scorecard is a comparative quantitative analysis of 18 EU Member States, and Norway and Turkey, resulting in an overall score for the effectiveness of the regulatory environment in each country.
A questionnaire was compiled following consultation with NRAs and ECTA members, and taking account of the requirements and recommendations contained in the EU Communications Framework, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reference paper on telecommunications and European Commission and European Regulators Group (ERG) Guidelines. It covers (a) the institutional framework; (b) general market access conditions; and (c) the specific competitive and regulatory conditions relating to the markets for fixed and mobile telephony, high speed business connections and broadband.
The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) looks after the regulatory and commercial interests of new entrant telecoms operators, ISPs and suppliers of products and services to the communications industry.
ECTA works for a fair regulatory environment which allows all electronic communications providers to compete on level terms in order to multiply investment and innovation throughout an effective European internal market. The association represents the telecommunications industry to key government and regulatory bodies and maintains a forum for networking and business development.
ECTA member companies include operators, service providers and suppliers as well as National Associations of such who all contribute towards regulatory policy development and participate in our comprehensive range of networking events, conferences, seminars, briefings and executive meetings.