Dáil Éireann - Volume 431 - 26 May, 1993

Written Answers. - Telephone Calls Duration.

80. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the proposed new time restriction by Telecom Éireann of three-minute duration is unacceptable; if he has received any submissions on this matter; if he will reconsider the time duration if a satisfactory case can be established for a longer duration; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications (Mr. Cowen): I think I should dispel any misconception which may exist in relation to the timing of telephone calls. There is no restriction, three minutes or otherwise, imposed by Telecom Eireann on the duration of calls from subscribers' telephones.

The three minutes referred to in Telecom Eireann's rebalancing package is the time allowed per charging unit on local calls. I have received representations on the matter but I would repeat what I said during the Adjournment Debate on 12 May, 1993, that:

Based on accurate data at my disposal:—

—almost 80% of all local calls will be unaffected by the timing restrictions;

—over 72% of local calls made at peak periods will be unaffected;

[897] —over 97% of local calls made at off-peak periods will be unaffected.

In these circumstances, I do not consider that the time allowed per unit on local calls is unreasonable taken in conjuction with the reduction in the unit price from 11.17p to 9.5p. A longer time duration would result in a higher price per unit to produce the same revenue and would penalise the vast majority of calls.