The Irish Communications Minister has presented a Bill to the Irish Government to regulate the premium rate telecommunications sector in .
The Bill which will replace the existing industry model of self-regulation, which is overseen by RegTel, will transfer the regulatory functions to the statutory communications regulator - ComReg. It will regulate premium rate content offered by operators including for example, ring tones, traffic news, sports results, competitions, advice, entertainment and chat lines.
The Bill will be published in the coming days. Its main features as announced are as follows;
- For the first time, premium rate service providers will require a licence to operate and will be required to abide by the licence conditions of that service
- Non-compliance will result in amendment, suspension or revocation of the licence
- Organisations that operate without a licence will be liable to fines of up to EUR 250,000
- There will be a separate offence to deal with overcharging for premium rate services; and
- A condition of the licence will be a requirement that the operator complies with a new Code of Practice.