Broadband provider Digiweb has launched a 3Mbps cable and wireless broadband service called Metro to some 1.3 million people across six initial locations – Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Dundalk.
In stark difference to the counterproductive wrangling surrounding local loop unbundling (LLU), Digiweb said it is inviting other established carriers and operators to avail of wholesale access to the Metro network from day one.
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD welcomed the move. “The new service represents a major leap forward in the provision of wireless broadband to the Irish market. It bypasses the difficulties of LLU and is independent of the traditional telephone networks.”
Digiweb said Metro addresses what has been missing in the Irish telecoms market to date – genuine telecoms platform competition.
The company said it has been engaged in the research and development of Metro for over a year, combining leading technologies and protocols from the wireless and cable modem industries. For example, the company said Metro is Ireland’s most extensive DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem system delivered on one of the most advanced licensed wireless platforms available today.
“In essence, Metro will enable selected partner companies to architect, specify and deliver their own services to their own end customers across our network,” explained Colm Piercy, managing director of Digiweb. “Those operators may package any of a wide host of services they wish to offer – the Metro network does not impose any fixed specifications, formats or business model. With its extremely keen cost base compared to other options, we expect Metro will rapidly stimulate many new services and greatly increased consumer choice in the Irish telecoms market.”
Entry-level retail packages on the new network offer 3Mbps broadband with a full telephony service, free line rental, free voice calls to other Digiweb customers, and in excess of 50pc savings on calls to most other locations, for €35 per month excl Vat, with the option of a second phone line and phone number for an extra €5 per month.
Enhanced packages include a 4Mbps service with 1Mbps upload with low contention for €90 excl Vat and a 6Mbps download, 2Mbps upload service for €249 excl Vat per month.
Based on standard telephony protocols the phone service allows any normal phone to be used and customers may opt to either have a new geographic number assigned or to transfer their existing phone number from their current provider. However, the customer does not need to have a traditional phone line installed and for new home-owners, the long wait traditionally associated with a phone service is eliminated, the company claimed.
“It’s a unique occurrence in the Irish market to launch a network of this scale and nature simultaneously in six large cities. Metro is designed to be exceptionally flexible and scalable, and immediately will also be used to deliver a number of enhanced business services such as leased-line replacement technology, MPLS links, E1 [European format for digital transmission] and fractional E1 provision. We are now in the planning stages for our phase two build, which will be available in the second or third quarter of next year, with a view to providing 70pc population coverage by mid-year,” Piercy said.
By John Kennedy