BT’s Call Handling Fee For Managing The Emergency Call Answering Service Set To Increase - Again

Author:Ms Helen Kelly and Nina Cummins

The maximum permitted call handling fee ("CHF") that can be re-couped by BT Communications Ireland Limited ("BT") for the period from 12 February 2015-11 February 2016 is to be set at3.82. A somewhat disappointing result for BT, as the October 2014 Consultation proposed a maximum fee of4.63 - but still up from the3.02 charge for 2014/2015. The Communications Regulation Acts 2002-2011 (the "Act") requires ComReg to review the maximum CHF that can be charged by the emergency call answering service ("ECAS") provider (currently BT) each year. In line with this obligation, ComReg published a consultation (ComReg 14/109).  Relevant stakeholders were invited to respond to ComReg's proposal to increase the CHF - the deadline for responses was 21 November 2014; with ComReg publishing its Response to Consultation and Final Determination on 14 January 2015. So why such a variation between the CHF in the Consultation and ComReg's final decision? It seems that part of the reason for ComReg settling on the lower3.82 figure, was due to re-evaluation of ComReg's preliminary views on the likely annual rate of decline in call volumes.   Initially, ComReg predicted the rate of decline in its October 2014 Consultation to be around 15.2%.  However, in light of submissions received, ComReg now considers the annual rate of decline to be less, at around 11.7%.  Consequently, this has had the effect of reducing the maximum permitted CHF. Additionally, ComReg took into account the fact that the contract for delivery of the ECAS between the Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources ("DCENR") and BT would be...

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