Ireland: Calls for Eircom to be renationalized

Calls are afoot on the Emerald Isle for the government to consider renationalizing Eircom after an EU report blasted the company, and called its key services expensive and unreliable. Mobile services came out ok, but landline subscribers were being charged with the highest prices in the EU.

Landline subscribers pay 25 euros a month, but that isn't all.  Competitive access to the network was also called expensive and unreliable, while DSL rollout to rural areas was at 73 percent last year, 16 percent behind the figure for overall national coverage.

Mobile services came out well, as the cost of a mobile call in Ireland, 0.11 euros per minute, is lower than the EU average of 0.23 euros a minute. Mobile operators also handily beat the EU average of 8.5 days for customers to switch mobile operators, by taking just a day to make the change.

A spokesperson for Eircom said the costs for running the Irish network were higher than other EU nations because the population is so spread out. He also said that the cost analysis didn't take into account call termination chargers as well as the monthly cost for a landline; looking at both shows that Ireland is much cheaper for residential and business calls.

Still, advocates are pushing to get Eircom re-nationalized in order to improve broadband coverage, saying that the company is so burdened with debt, it is incapable to making the investments needed to reach rural communities.

For more:
- Irish Times on the potential for a renationalized phone company. Article.

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