Planned Irish legislation will cover Sky



Irish Communications Minister Dermot Ahern is planning to bring Sky under Irish regulatory control when the country's broadcasting legislation is overhauled to plug a gap in a forthcoming EU directive which could leave cable, MMDS, and satellite operators potentially able to avoid consumer billing and service quality regulation.

Minister Ahern is planning to introduce legislation to ensure regulation at consumer level and at the same time bring Sky into the fold. He says that he is determined to have a level playing field, which means including regulation of Sky. Sky is fighting a strong rearguard action, saying that it's already covered by the UK regulatory authorities and that under the EU Television without Frontiers directive, it cannot be regulated in addition in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Minister Ahern has criticised ComReg for being so slow in providing details of what they want to see in the planned legislation. The Minister met ComReg officials in April, and told them he was very willing to legislate on this issue and is still waiting for details. He said that it was a "little late" for ComReg to be pointing out deficiencies in the EU directive so close to its implementation.