Irish Broadband embarks on SOHO strategy


13 Oct 2004

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Fixed wireless broadband provider Irish Broadband has embarked on a strategy to provide small office home office (SOHO) workers and consumers with wireless broadband for €25 (ex Vat) per month, capitalising on what it believes is a significant market move towards new home owners who don’t want phone lines.

The company yesterday unveiled its new broadband access device, entitled Ripwave, which allows users to set up broadband anywhere in the home where a power socket is available and enjoy a download speed of 512Kbps for a fixed price of €29.99 (including Vat) and an installation charge of €99.

In recent weeks, siliconrepublic.com revealed that Irish Broadband was fostering plans to introduce lower price broadband services as well as paving the road for voice-over IP (VoIP) services. Irish Broadband’s managing director Paul Doody confirmed yesterday that the company was preparing VoIP services for introduction in the first half of 2005.

Irish Broadband, which is a division of National Toll Roads (NTR), provides fixed wireless data services with speeds ranging from 512Kbps up to 6Mbps and its customer base includes home users, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporate players. The company’s service to business and home internet users includes high-speed always-on internet access (upstream as well as downstream) with unlimited connection to the internet from €30 per month for home users and €45 per month for business users.

The company is providing coverage in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Drogheda and Dundalk under seven existing licences, but has ambitions to provide total nationwide coverage. This ambition was helped by a recent decision by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComREg) to award it with nine further licences under phase two of ComReg’s FWALA 3.5GHz licensing scheme, covering for Athlone, Arklow, Ennis, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Wexford and Carlow.

Doody revealed that in Dublin alone the company is reaching 300,000 homes and some 50,000 SOHO businesses. “When we have gone fully live in the areas where we achieved nine additional wireless licenses from ComReg, we expect to be covering some 80-90pc of the available broadband market in Ireland.”

Doody added that the company is hoping, with the introduction of new PCMCIA cards for carrying wireless broadband, to increase the density of its network in Dublin and the regional license areas. “Our network will be similar in structure to a GSM network, only capable of catering for next generation services such as WiMax. “This is an exciting time for fixed wireless access. Over the next 18 months expect to see exciting changes in the Irish and European telecoms marketplace,” Doody said.

Irish Broadband co-founder Jeremy Nell said that the company is also preparing to introduce personal firewall, antivirus and anti-spam services for wireless broadband users for as little as €2 extra per month.

By John Kennedy