ComReg Report says VDSL not going to happen, kinda suggests ComReg is to blame

Gowls. (Word of the week in case you wondered.)

So ComReg paid a lot of cash for a report on subloop unbundling in Dublin and it paints a dire picture for the future of broadband in Ireland. The idea of subloop unbundling is that instead of having equipment in an exchange, the equipment is in those tiny cabinets in the estate or in the basement of an apartment complex and VDSL which is like higher speed DSL will then bring you broadband on your copper lines. It’s like bringing fibre closer to the home but not completely there.

From page 6:

The largest costs faced by OAOs in deploying SLU are the charges for line rental, co-location at the street cabinet and the backhaul link to the MDF. In all three cases, it seems unlikely that competition will provide lower prices than those available from eircom. Therefore, the possibility of obtaining a fair price from eircom for these services will be important if OAOs are to be encouraged to deploy SLU.

On balance, therefore, we believe that an OAO can construct a positive business case for SLU in
the Dublin area, but only under the following conditions:
– there are significant reductions in the costs of SLU
– OAOs are optimistic regarding the incremental revenue from SLU over LLU
– OAOs only deploy to large cabinets (over 300 lines), and possibly medium-sized ones
(150–299 lines).

Remember line rental for LLU is 14.67 a month. Ripoff expensive. Then there’s paying to get to those small cabinets and if eircom doesn’t share em, you might have to build your own. Planning permission nightmares.

Sub Loop Pricing

The report tries to be positive but if you read it yourself you’ll see that they’re actually say NOT A CHANCE.

Still on page 6:

Given that the business case for SLU in the Dublin area is challenging, we believe that the business case will be difficult in other areas of Ireland, where the line density per cabinet is likely to be lower and the backhaul costs greater.

And from page 7, it’s like a list of things that will never ever happen:


Our study shows that OAOs can construct a commercially attractive business case for SLU under certain conditions. To ensure that they would be able to implement this in the future, it is important that any potential future VDSL roll-out by eircom does not have a significantly detrimental impact on competition, and we have the following recommendations:

  • Given ComReg’s responsibility to promote competition, it should now be considering how best to remove potential barriers (including supporting processes) to a successful deployment of SLU.
  • The component prices for SLU should be reviewed, both in absolute terms and relative to LLU.
  • It will be important for there to be a flexible and competitively priced wholesale bitstream product in addition to SLU.
  • Though eircom is planning to offer unbundlers adjacent co-location at its street cabinets, it will be important for OAOs to have access to eircom’s cabinets, since the installation of duplicate cabinets is likely to be uneconomic and/or suffer from other constraints such as local planning. ComReg should consider ensuring that eircom offers co-location space in its street cabinets. Further work should be carried out to establish the magnitude of the cost to eircom of deploying cabinets large enough to accommodate unbundlers’ equipment.
  • It will be important for OAOs to have access to an affordable, fibre-based, backhaul product from eircom as it would uneconomical in most cases for OAOs to replicate this infrastructure. Options for such a product include duct access, dark fibre or Ethernet products.

4 Responses to “ComReg Report says VDSL not going to happen, kinda suggests ComReg is to blame”

  1. Cormac says:

    But is it also not perfectly obvious that the OAO ( other operator) would have to pay the full whack of €14.67 a month for the reduced fraction of the copper loop as well , no discount there people .

    Nor was there any rebate to the OAO for the gear that they would have stranded in the old exchange while the exchange kinda fecked off to these cabinets .

    At least Comreg had the decency to pay €600k cash to a pack of consultants to do the dirty work for them. Now they can blame these foreign chappies for their own incompetence and not eircom or Comreg .

    That what I call value for money !

  2. Christina says:

    Do I get money back for the square eyes? 🙁

  3. Justin Mason says:

    Looks like Eircom have done a very neat end-run around the toothless regulator — *again*.

    The only useful response I could see would be for Comreg to block VDSL in this form from going ahead, but how likely is that?

  4. You think comreg is in a position to stop eircom from delivering 25 Mbps services to customers? That would be politically unwise and also very illegal.

    What did you expect? This is the nature of the fiber-to-the-kerb business in a country full of spread out single-dwelling houses. You can’t expect there to be an awful lot of players. The infrastructure is just too expensive to roll out.