Bitbuzz signs five-year Wi-Fi deal with bar chain


3 Nov 2004

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Irish Wi-Fi operator Bitbuzz has signed an exclusive five-year partnership deal with one of Dublin’s biggest pub chains, the Thomas Read Group (TRG), to offer Wi-Fi access in six of its city pubs as well as a further six pubs located in and around Dublin Airport, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

In recent months TRG launched its own coffee brand known as :”Thomas Read Coffee Company” and the Wi-Fi strategy will play a key role in driving business customers to its six bars in Dublin. These include Ron Blacks on Dawson Street, Searsons on Baggot Street, The Bailey on Duke Street, The Harbourmaster in the IFSC, Thomas Reads on Parliament Street and the 40 Foot in Dun Laoghaire.

The Bitbuzz service will allow customers of the various venues to enjoy at least 30 minutes of complimentary Wi-Fi access with any purchase in any of the six bars.

TRG’s Eamonn Fleming commented: “The concept for the Thomas Reed Coffee Company came about as a reaction to the changing trends in the bar business and also the continuing explosion of ‘coffee culture’ in Irish society.

“The availability of wireless internet access is a natural additional service to accompany the gourmet coffee offer. Once connected, you can check your email, surf the web, book or shop online – all in the comfort of a Thomas Read Group bar – and its all complimentary with any purchase,” Fleming said.

Bitbuzz managing director Shane Deasy told siliconrepublic.com that the TRG contract came following a six-month trial period. He said that as well as pursuing a retail strategy – including such notable as Kylemore Cafes and Statoil – the company is also looking at new business opportunities in the serviced offices market and student accommodation business.

“In terms of serviced offices, people would rent them for either a week, a few months or longer and our service platform enables service providers to enable and disenable customers as necessary. The student accommodation market is also a promising opportunity due to the growing proliferation of laptops amongst students and the need for greater flexibility in accessing the internet when researching theses and various projects, as well as keeping in touch with friends and family,” said Deasy.

Deasy indicated a growing trend amongst existing businesses towards offering “guest access” to clients and visitors to office buildings on their Wi-Fi networks. To this end, the company recently fitted out a guest access network for Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s headquarters in Dun Laoghaire.

By John Kennedy