More internet service providers (ISPs) around the country are preparing to launch flat-rate offerings for customers, following the launch last Friday of wholesale rates for operators. Three ISPs are known to be finalising plans. As yet though, there is no indication from Eircom about a timeframe for the launch of its service.
Netsource is planning to launch a flat-rate service in four weeks to business customers in the Dublin area. There will be three versions of the service. A spokesperson for the ISP indicated that the delay – flat-rate services were officially made available last Friday – was a deliberate choice. “This is something new for us, so we decided to wait for four weeks and test it instead of letting the public test it for us.”
Galway-based Anu Internet Services hopes to have a flat-rate service available, possibly within a month. ‘We’re definitely interested, we want to roll it out as soon as possible,’ said hostmaster Chris Wik. According to Wik, many of the ISP’s customers are small businesses based in Galway and Mayo, who use their internet connections five or six times a day to retrieve email; if these firms could avail of flat-rate access, it would allow them to stay online all day.
Elive, an ISP based in Limerick, is in the process of developing a flat-rate service but few details are available yet. However the company is readying the package for launch in six to eight weeks.
Eircom has not yet committed to a launch date for a retail service, although an announcement is expected shortly. As the former state telecoms provider, Eircom had been ordered by the Regulator to provide wholesale rates to other operators and service providers, which it did on the appointed date, last Friday 27 June. Its service will be available for consumer and business customers and will be available in three packages geared towards light, medium and heavy internet users.
By Gordon Smith