Foreign nationals struggle to get broadband

21 Sep 2007

Stringent criteria governing broadband are making it difficult for foreign nationals living in Ireland to access these services and stay in touch with loved ones back home.

Foreign nationals from Poland, Brazil and elsewhere are the fastest-growing purchasing segment of the notebook computer market in Ireland, says Robert Brennan, owner of The Laptop Shop, which has stores in Stephen’s Green, Santry’s Omnipark, Dundrum Town Centre and Laurencetown Centre in Drogheda.

“Unfortunately some of the criteria for them signing up for broadband is too stringent and as a result many of them don’t qualify for broadband contracts because they aren’t resident in Ireland long enough or are considered a risk by the telecoms provider,” Brennan said.

Brennan says he believes the problem exists across the spectrum of broadband services in Ireland from wireless to fixed line DSL and said that providers in Ireland should consider the prepaid broadband model that is growing in popularity elsewhere in the world.

“It’s a problem across the board and foreign nationals living and working in Ireland are finding it harder to get a broadband contract than the average Irish customer.

“We’d urge telecoms companies to loosen this criteria. Companies such as Irish Broadband and Smart Telecom have been lenient and have done very well as a result,” Brennan said.

He said the problem usually begins with telecoms firms wanting utility bills. “Also many of them have a problem with signing up on a year by year contract when they may not even be in the country for a year.

“They would much prefer to pay on a month by month basis. The pre-pay model works well in other countries and could work extraordinarily well in Ireland with its large population of immigrants,” Brennan added.

By John Kennedy