Eircom Net preps flat-rate internet services

20 Aug 2003

Eircom Net has revealed details of its retail flat-rate internet service, some two months after wholesale unmetered rates for dial-up access became available. Due for official launch on 4 September, the service will be a three-tier offering, aimed at light, medium and heavy internet users, either consumers or small businesses.

Eircom Net flat rate 25 costs €9.99 per month for 25 hours access during off-peak hours (6pm to 8am); Eircom Net flat rate 60 provides 60 hours off-peak browsing at a cost of €19.99 per month. Users who opt for Eircom Net anytime will pay €29.99 per month for 150 hours at any time of the day or night.

According to a spokesperson for Eircom Net, the company’s flat-rate packages are aimed at particular levels of usage; once a customer passes these limits, normal charges apply. The service is available to all Eircom Net customers and ISDN users.

Flat-rate internet services, also known as FRIACO, were launched on 25 June. The telecoms regulator ComReg impelled Eircom, as the incumbent telecoms operator, to make a wholesale service available to other licenced service providers. Many of those operators launched services to customers on or around the launch date but Eircom’s internet division has waited until now to make its bow in the market.

“We’ve been working towards introducing this,” said the spokesperson. “We feel we’re offering a full range of products to suit business and residential customers, as well as light and heavy users.” The company has already been taking expressions of interest in the service on its website and these are indicating a “good demand” for its flat-rate offerings.

Internet users anticipating a price war will be disappointed; the ‘Eircom net anytime’ offering is available at a price roughly similar to that offered by some rival operators. Esat BT’s offer is €30, but the telco had offered a three-month introductory rate of €20 for users who signed up before 31 July. It subsequently claimed to have signed 3,500 subscribers following this offer. UTV Internet’s service is available for €24.95, and the company hinted at launch time that there was scope to reduce prices further.

By Gordon Smith