Written Answers - Telecommunications Regulation.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 682 No. 2

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  71.  Deputy Joe Costello  Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello   asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources  Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan   the cost of running RegTel on a yearly basis since 2006 to date in 2009; the function of RegTel; if he is satisfied that there is sufficient regulation of premium rate services here; when he expects RegTel to be placed under the aegis of ComReg; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18685/09]

  96.  Deputy Lucinda Creighton  Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton   asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources  Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan   his views on a regulatory or a voluntary basis for the control by mobile phone operators of text subscription services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18724/09]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 71 and 96 together.

Premium rate services (PRS) in Ireland are regulated by Regtel, which is an independent, not-for-profit limited company financed by means of a levy on the premium rate service providers and network operators. It is not directly accountable to any Government Department or State Body. Details of its running costs are contained in its annual report which is available on its website at www.regtel.ie.

Following a review of the regulation of PRS I decided that this function should be carried out directly by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). I initiated the review following:

complaints from the public concerning PRS, particularly subscription services aimed at children;

RegTel’s lack of effective enforcement powers; and

the recognition that the statutory basis for the regulation of PRS required strengthening.

Drafting of a Bill entitled ‘Communications Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2009’ for the purpose of transferring the regulation of PRS to ComReg is currently being finalised. I expect to submit the draft Bill to Government for approval to publish within the next few weeks and have it enacted as soon as possible thereafter. I believe that the Bill will lead to improved protection for consumers and will enhance confidence in the sector.


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