Communications and Broadcasting

The Practice

Arthur Cox has one of the leading communications and broadcasting practices in Ireland. Organised on a cross-departmental basis, the Group draws on the specialist skills of our Corporate, Finance and Litigation groups and works very closely with the Technology & Innovation, Media and Intellectual Property Groups.  Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge and experience of the particular requirements of the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors and work closely with clients, including fixed and mobile telecommunications operators, infrastructure providers, internet service providers, broadcasters as well as investors and banks, to understand the products and services forming the basis of sectors evolving at a rapid pace. At the forefront of regulatory and legal developments, our lawyers provide practical, industry-focussed, first-class legal advice. Our clients appreciate that “the team listens” and “is aware of the context in which we operate”, being “very thorough in its advice and also proactive” (Chambers Europe 2014). Within the team, Colin Kavanagh is praised by clients as a “very helpful and efficient adviser” while Florence Loric, an “associate to watch”, is praised by clients as “an EU broadcasting and telecoms regulation specialist” (Chambers Europe 2014) .

Expertise

The Group brings its unparalleled regulatory expertise to advising actors in the electronic communications sector in respect of their corporate transactions including network sharing and other joint ventures, mergers & acquisitions and other financing and restructuring operations. The Group also assists clients in their dealings with regulators and public authorities, such as the Commission for Communications Regulation (“ComReg”) and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), including in the context of statutory appeals, judicial reviews, competition complaints and defence, and regulatory compliance. Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Authorisation and licensing requirements under the Authorisation Regulations 2011, the Broadcasting Act 2009 and the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926
  • Significant Market Power regulation for both fixed and mobile including SMP designation and compliance issues including in respect of NGA roll-out, dark fibre, duct access, fixed voice access, broadband access, fixed and mobile termination rates and wholesale pricing regulation
  • Compliance with sector-specific consumer protection legislation and number portability requirements under the Universal Service Regulations 2011 and compliance with roaming regulatory requirements under the EU Roaming Regulation
  • Public service/Universal Service Obligations (USO) including designation, scope and funding
  • The application of European State aid rules to broadband/next generation access roll-out
  • Network access agreements
  • Infrastructure sharing agreements including mobile network sharing agreements

Experience

Our clients span telecom operators both fixed and mobile, electronic service providers as well as funders and government and public sector entities based in Ireland and abroad. The Group has been involved in almost every major transaction in Ireland over the past thirty years and has advised eircom Limited, Meteor Mobile Communications Limited, Vodafone Ireland Limited, Irish public broadcaster RTÉ and broadcasting network operator 2RN.  Members of the Group have been involved in framing relevant legislation and in significant telecoms regulatory and commercial cases before the Irish High Court.