Broadband provider claims national plan will affect ‘ability to compete’
Posted on 7th February 2023 at 20:47
Minister has underlying bias against technology used by firm, says west of Ireland provider
A broadband provider in the west of Ireland is asking the High Court to quash a decision it says will affect its ability to compete under the national €2.7 billion broadband programme.
Lighthouse Networks, trading as Lightnet, brought the action against a finding of the Minister for Communications that Lightnet’s network does not meet next-generation standards under the National Broadband Plan.
Lightnet says its functional geographic area will not be excluded from the national plan which means it will then have to compete with the State-subsidised service.
Lightnet provides broadband to more than 6,000 premises in Galway, east Offaly, Clare and up to the border of Roscommon. It claims its technology is 30 per cent more spectrally efficient than the current best licensed wireless access services. It has, it says, spent €5 million building up that technology over a 14-year period.
Lightnet claims the Minister’s decision is invalid because it does not comply with the criteria set down in a report prepared for the Government by PwC. It is also claimed the decision infringes on its legitimate expectation.
Alternatively, it says, there is an underlying bias by the Minister against the technology Lightnet uses.
The case opened before Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger on Tuesday when Noel J Travers SC, for Lightnet, urged the court to overturn the Minister’s decision.
The Minister, represented by Conleth Bradley SC, opposes the action.
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