BT to offer SMEs €10 a month broadband

16 Aug 2005

As part of its strategy to break Eircom’s grip on the SME market, BT Ireland is launching a bundled 2Mbps broadband and voice service for €10 a month.

Later this week the company is expected to announce the new service whereby businesses that sign up for the bundled voice and broadband service will receive the broadband element for €10 a month for the first 12 months.

BT Ireland product director Peter Evans (pictured) explained to that at the end of the 12 months the price will revert to the standard charge for 2Mbps broadband for SME customers of the telco. “Our standard broadband package for SMEs is €45 a month for 2Mbps and that’s being discounted to €10 for the first year. However, we are planning for the full price to fall off by the end of the first year.”

Evans said if businesses cannot get broadband for whatever reason, whether they are too far from a local loop or have split lines, BT Ireland will provide them with a flat rate standard dial-up internet connection for free.

“There are in excess of 100,000 SMEs in the Irish market and some 50pc of them have broadband already,” Evans explained. “We are targeting this service at not only new customers but existing broadband customers who want to move to a different provider for cost reasons. We are predicting in excess of 1,000 businesses a month will sign up for this service.”

Explaining the voice package, Evans said it will be based on the wholesale line-rental product the company introduced in November last year. “We are bundling that in with broadband and the SME will now get one bill for broadband and voice.”

Evans said one of the key reasons the company is launching the new service is that the SME segment of the Irish business market for broadband is not competitive. “We have been very successful in the corporate market, which we target with fibre services, and have 60pc of the top 1,000 businesses in the country using our services.

“However, it has been fairly quiet over the past 12 months on the SME front. The truth is the SME market has not been served well in terms of competition. Approximately 80pc of SMEs in the country are with Eircom for voice services. This cannot be overlooked because business-wise Ireland is a nation of SMEs. In terms of voice services, BT Ireland’s rates are 25pc below the Eircom tariffs,” he said.

Evans said at present BT Ireland has unbundled approximately 40 exchanges and firms wishing to receive broadband outside of those areas will essentially be receiving the bitstream version of the product, which the company deploys as part of a wholesale relationship with Eircom.

“We are in the process of rolling out a further 12 exchanges. We have the orders in and they should be up and running by the end of the year. When we have 52 exchanges unbundled we will have access to over half the consumer population of Ireland,” Evans said.

By John Kennedy