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Eircom has ended a dispute with the Communications Regulator (ComReg) over the use of its internet infrastructure by rival broadband providers.

The Irish internet service provider (ISP) has agreed to reduce the monthly fee it charges competitors for supplying broadband over its telephone lines.

Eircom withdrew a legal challenge to a ComReg ruling ordering fairer charges, agreeing to lower the wholesale price for local loop unbundling from €8.41 (£7.34) to 77 cents (66p).

ComReg confirmed that the dispute had been settled, but declined to provide any further details on the matter.

A spokesman for Alto, which represents alternative broadband operators, welcomed the withdrawal of Eircom's legal challenge.

He told the Irish Times: "The decision to withdraw renews confidence in ComReg's abilities to regulate the communications market in a fair and unbiased manner."

The spokesperson said the decision would benefit not only ISPs, but also consumers, through the wider availability of cheap broadband.

Earlier this month, the government of Northern Ireland announced the provision of £88,000 in extra funding to improve broadband connectivity in rural areas of the country.

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