Eircom in contention for slagging from Magnet

22 Nov 2006

Magnet’s business division has attempted to spark a war of words by claiming that Eircom’s broadband customers are being “hoodwinked” because they are not being made aware that their connections are being shared with other users.

Magnet Business has just launched broadband services where customers have their own dedicated link to the internet with no contention ratios — that is, where the line is shared among several users.

“With broadband access shared between 24 and 48 users on the Eircom broadband network, companies are increasingly finding that what was once an acceptable speed of service is slowly but surely becoming their very own M50 at rush hour,” said Donal Hanrahan, director of business services at Magnet Business.

He said that customers buying a 1, 3, 4 or 8Mbps broadband service from Magnet Business would get to use that connection at all times and that the capacity would not be shared between any other customers on the network. “This means that each customer gets between 24 and 48 times the capacity it currently may be experiencing with the equivalent Eircom product,” he claimed.

When contacted for a response, an Eircom spokesman told siliconrepublic.com: “The contention ratios on offer from Eircom are the same that people get across Europe with broadband. There’s no difference at all.”

This is not the first time that a service provider in Ireland has tried to promote its wares on the basis of contention ratios; it has been a feature of the market since the days of dial-up and the earliest internet service providers.

Usually because of the cost involved in providing connections to businesses and homes, most internet lines in Ireland are subject to contention so that the available network bandwidth is shared between several subscribers at the point where the network meets the exchange. The higher the level of contention — in other words the amount of people using the same line — the slower the speed of connection. A service with zero contention offers a dedicated link to the subscriber, ensuring dedicated performance levels.

By Gordon Smith