Esat BT serves up Wi-Fi and coffee for insomniacs

21 Oct 2003

Esat BT has signed a contract with Insomnia Coffee Company for the rollout of its public wireless local area network (WLAN) technology, BT Openzone, in the chain’s coffee shops in Dublin and Galway.

Insomnia is the first coffee shop chain in the Republic of Ireland to be equipped with Wi-Fi technology. BT Openzone has been installed in six Insomnia coffee shops – Ballsbridge, Pembroke Street, Harcourt Hall, Stephen’s Green, Upper Baggot Street and Hughes & Hughes bookshop in Galway. Hotspots will go live in a further three outlets in October and November.

This latest deal brings to 45 the number of live BT Openzone sites on the island of Ireland, since Esat BT unveiled its first wireless hotspot in Dun Laoghaire Harbour last January.

Bill Murphy, chief executive officer, Esat BT said the company is seeing strong demand for wireless broadband across a variety of sectors, especially retail and hospitality. “This is a great value-add service to offer today’s increasingly mobile workforce,” he said.

With BT Openzone, users with either a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop/PDA or a wireless LAN card can access data at speeds of up to 500Kbps, enabling them to send and receive large quantities of information at broadband speed. Users need to be within an approximate 100-metre range of BT Openzone sites, which are clearly marked with the BT Openzone logo and signage.

Users pay for the BT Openzone service through either through pay-as-you-go scratch cards from BT Openzone sites or subscription from Esat BT. Scratch cards cost €10 for one hour’s worth of usage within 24 hours from the first log-on or €24 for unlimited usage within 24 hours of the first log-on.

The Esat BT subscription costs €120 per month for unlimited access but the company is offering a 50pc reduction – to €60 per month – to customers who sign up before the end of December 2003.

BT Openzone customers in Ireland are also able to access over 400 sites through the BT Openzone network in the UK, and thousands of sites in Europe and the US through BT’s roaming partners.

By Brian Skelly