Eircom rivals reveal reduced rates for DSL services

2 Mar 2004

Three providers of DSL services have undercut Eircom’s own prices on the back of the 25pc wholesale broadband rate cuts by the incumbent, which were announced last month and officially launched yesterday.

From 1 March, Eircom now charges other licensed operators a monthly broadband rate of €20.10, reduced from the original price of €27 per month. Eircom itself is charging €39.99 a month for its retail DSL offering.

UTV Internet introduced a new set monthly charge of €29.99 for its ClickSilver product, which it claims undercuts offerings from both Eircom and Esat. The €29.99 (incl. Vat) service includes a broadband modem as part of a €99 setup fee. In addition, UTV Internet customers can avail of the company’s telephony service which it claims gives 25pc off the standard Eircom call rate for local, national and international voice calls and a 5pc discount on calls to Irish mobiles.

UTV Internet’s Scott Taunton commented: “Once again we are delighted to lead the way by bringing a high quality broadband product to the market for under €30, backed up by our excellent technical support at local call rates. We’ve always said that the high cost of broadband in Ireland was prohibitive to market growth. We’re confident that our UTV Clicksilver product will stimulate the market further as broadband is now at an affordable price for the first time ever in Ireland.”

Independent internet service provider (ISP) Netsource took advantage of Eircom’s wholesale price cut to introduce six services for the business market ranging from teleworkers to large corporate services. The first two SOHO (small office, home office) offerings, standard and enhanced, are available for a rate of between €29.99 and €33 for services that are 512kbps downstream and 128kbps upstream. The service includes a free broadband modem, a two month rolling contract and an installation fee of €81.88.

Netsource’s middle tier offerings, its Enterprise Business Broadband services, standard and enhanced, will cost €89 a month for services that give businesses 1,024kbps downstream and 256kbps upstream and include a standard €81.88 installation fee plus free firewall, four-port router and fixed IP addresses. The enhanced service, the price of which has yet to be confirmed, includes ISDN backup, email services and hosting and operates at a 24:1 contention ratio on lines connected to unbundled Eircom exchanges. The contention ratio refers to the number of other users sharing the same unbundled line to the exchange.

Netsource’s standard Corporate Business Broadband product, which includes speeds of 2,048kbps upstream and 256kbps downstream, will cost €169 per month, with an €81 installation charage and free four port router, fixed IP addresses and firewall. The new price for the enhanced version, which includes additional ISDN backup, email and hosting, has yet to be confirmed. All of Netsource’s enterprise and corporate DSL services have a 24:1 contention ratio.

Esat BT also entered the fray with a reduced broadband price of €33.15 per month with a €90 connection charge for its IOL Broadband service. The standard service includes 8Gbps upload data transfer as part of a package that allows users to use their phones while they browse the internet as well as a free USB/Ethernet modem. The standard service has a 48:1 contention ratio.

An enhanced IOL Broadband Plus services, which now costs €39.95 per month, includes a 16Gbps upload/download package that has all the features of the standard package but includes Symantec’s Norton Security 2004 with child protection software and a 24:1 contention rate on DSL lines operating out of Eircom’s unbundled exchanges.

By John Kennedy