Ireland, like other EU member states, was required to implement the EU Authorisation Directive (the “Directive”) into its regulatory framework by July 25, 2003. The implementation of the Directive would transition the Irish licensing regime to a general authorisation regime and would replace all licences with general authorisations. In this regard, the implementation of the Directive involved major regulatory change.
Ireland took a number of measures to facilitate the transition to the general authorisation regime. First, it published a consultation paper that set out its proposals for the conditions that would attach to general authorisations under the new regime. This consultation paper was published in advance of the enactment of the regulations that would give effect to the Authorisation Directive, and thus allowed stakeholders to comment on these proposals before they were made legally binding. This consultation paper also invited comments concerning a number of other regulatory matters.
Second, Ireland enacted regulations to transpose the Authorisation Directive into the Irish regulatory framework. As indicated, the regulations were legislated after the Irish regulator had published a consultation paper on the arrangements for the new general authorisation regime. Ireland also issued its General Authorisation, which contained the conditions for the provision of electronic communications networks and services.
Third, the Irish regulator issued a Response Paper in conjunction with the publication of the general authorisation regulations. This Response Paper addressed issues that had been raised in the public consultation paper and also provided guidance to operators about their rights and responsibilities under the general authorisation regime.
Finally, the Irish regulator released Guidelines relating to general authorisations. These Guidelines were released on the day that the new general authorisation regulations came into effect. The Guidelines were designed to provide guidance to stakeholders about the operation of the new general authorisation regime and to outline the procedures related to providing notification.