Eircom yesterday finally launched its consumer-orientated broadband product at a monthly charge of €45 plus Vat, as anticipated by siliconrepublic.com last week.
According to the company, the i-stream starter product will be available from 11 April and the new service is up to 10 times faster than the average telephone line. It will enable users to access the internet and use the telephone simultaneously.
The company is also close to agreeing a wholesale rate with other telecoms players that will see competitors introducing rival broadband products over the coming weeks.
However, the announcement will not stop the Government maintaining pressure on Eircom to offer a cheaper flat-rate dial-up service within the next couple of months. The company said the broadband service will be available to 700,000 households, and hoped to increase that figure to one million by December. The service also requires a self-install connection fee of €99 or an Eircom installation fee of €199.65.
Eircom came under fire from competitors when it announced it was halving its broadband rates to the current level without offering a cost-based alternative to competitors such as Esat BT.
Exactly how far behind the rest of the world Ireland is in terms of broadband facilities was underlined in a report of the World Economic Forum last month. Ireland came in at 51st place on the forum’s global index of broadband availability, lower than Namibia, Botswana, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
By Lisa Deeney