Eircom has announced the launch of wireless broadband (Wi-Fi) for home users and a massive expansion of its public Wi-Fi programme, from its current 20 locations nationwide to 250.
Eircom Wi-Fi in the home will be available from 17 February to customers who qualify for broadband, ie those to whom DSL is available. To connect to the service users sign up to an Eircom DSL package in the usual way but then need to buy a special modem and an 802.11b wireless card for their PC if they do not have one already. Costing €149 (inc Vat) from Eircom, the Wi-Fi modem will enable broadband access within a radius of 100m, while the wireless card costs €49 (inc Vat).
Eircom’s monthly charges for broadband will also apply, currently €54.45 (inc Vat). Eircom announced in January that the company plans to cut this monthly fee to €39.99 (inc Vat) on 1 March 2004. The company has also committed to rolling out broadband to every town in Ireland with a population over 1,500 by March 2005.
The company has also announced an extended public Wi-Fi programme that will see it roll out 250 public wireless hotspots nationwide. Currently the company hosts 20 public hotspots in a number of hotels and conference centres across the country including Croke Park, Citywest Hotel, Mount Juliet and Great Southern Hotels. This figure will grow to 50 in the next two months, followed by the roll-out of a further 200 hotspots by an unspecified date.
Customers using the service can opt for pre-paid or account-paid payment options. Prepayment is by scratch card, available at all Eircom Wi-Fi locations, at €10 and €20 for one hour and 24 hours respectively. Alternatively, for €80 per month customers can choose a wireless broadband account for unlimited usage at any eircom hotspot location. (All prices include Vat.)
Commenting on the roll-out of Eircom’s broadband Wi-Fi Programme, Cathal Magee, managing director, Eircom retail, said: “Wireless broadband is an integral part of our overall broadband portfolio. It allows business people to interact in real-time with their corporate environment from remote locations. In the home, it moves broadband and all its benefits from the hallway into the living room and beyond. Without a doubt Wi-Fi represents the ultimate in flexibility for both business and home users.”
By Brian Skelly