Esat BT is planning to launch a budget digital subscriber line (DSL) service in the Irish market next week. The service, which was flagged some weeks ago by Esat BT CEO, Bill Murphy, will cost €49.95 per month plus a one-off connection charge of €125.
The service will be available on a phased basis, beginning with the regions of Cork, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow. By the end of January, Esat BT plans to offer the service from all its DSL-enabled exchanges. The service will offer internet connection at data speeds of 128 kilobits per second upload and 256kbps download.
Speaking to siliconrepublic.com, Deirdre Donegan, DSL product manager for Esat BT, said the company’s DSL rollout was on schedule. “We’ll be at 34 exchanges at the end of the week and the majority of the rollout plan is complete,” she said, adding that the number of subscribers had reached the 500 mark.
Esat BT plans to put DSL equipment into a total of 40 exchanges throughout the country, 10 inside the Greater Dublin area and 30 outside.
Furthermore it is creating a new section on its corporate website which will allow users outside of these exchange areas to log their interest in receiving the service. If enough users apply from a specific area, Esat BT will extend the service to that location. The model has been successfully introduced by BT in Cornwall in the UK.
Meanwhile, new figures from the DSL Forum reveal the number of global digital subscriber line customers grew strongly in the third quarter of 2002.
More than five million people worldwide signed up for the service between 1 July and 30 September, a 20pc rise on the previous quarter and the biggest percentage increase in user numbers yet recorded by the Forum.
The industry group has forecast a total of 36 million DSL customers around by the world by the end of the year and 200 million by 2005.
South Korea has the highest number of DSL connections as a percentage of all internet connections — 27pc.
After Asia-Pacific, Europe has the highest level of DSL penetration in the world, helped by strong demand in Germany, Norway and Croatia. North America lies in third place.
By Brian Skelly