eircom’s plan to reduce cost for urban customer will create digital divide in Offaly

IFA National Treasurer JJ Kavanagh has called on the Government to ensure that if a proposal by Eircom to drop the price of telephone line rental to urban customers is allowed, then it must be similarly reduced for rural customers.

IFA National Treasurer JJ Kavanagh has called on the Government to ensure that if a proposal by Eircom to drop the price of telephone line rental to urban customers is allowed, then it must be similarly reduced for rural customers.

Mr Kavanagh was speaking this week after a meeting with Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD where IFA outlined its grave concerns that there would be any breach of the Government’s long-standing commitment on the universality of line rental costs for all Irish households.

“Eircom’s proposal, which is currently being considered by Comreg, would mean that urban customers would pay €4 less per month. Since the establishment of our telecommunications network, a long-standing precedent has developed that line rental charges would be the same for all homes. Allowing such a move would create a two-tier system and is unacceptable to the 440,000 rural dwellers. The Government must ensure that any line reductions granted would apply to all customers including rural homes,” said Mr Kavanagh

Mr Kavanagh said he welcomed Minister Rabbitte’s comments that he was not in favour of a two-tier system and he would be expressing this view to Comreg. Mr Kavanagh concluded by saying, “IFA remains committed to ensuring that farmers and rural businesses have strong telecommunication solutions to allow them to compete nationally and internationally.”