Esat attacks ‘slow’ Eircom roll-out

David Clerkin

But Eircom responded with a fresh initiative to roll out high-speed internet services to 90% of the population and said that its target of 500,000 connections by 2007 remained achievable.

Speaking at the announcement of Esat BT's third quarter results yesterday, chief executive Bill Murphy said the pace of broadband rollout was too slow and that Eircom had blocked progress in making the market more competitive.

"Eircom's behaviour raises questions about their commitment to true competition in the broadband arena their current play will most certainly stymie any chance of achieving the stated target of 500,000 customers," said Mr Murphy.

"I call on ComReg to undertake a comprehensive review of the current wholesale broadband model, which is clearly deficient in driving the kind of market that we need," he said.

Esat BT said it now had 30,000 broadband customers, almost a third of its 100,000-strong phone customer base.

The firm reported strong results, with revenues for the nine months to December advancing 29% to 268 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), the key measure for telecom companies, up to E24m.

Chief operating officer Mike Maloney said the company was ready to launch new broadband pricing plans and product offerings to attract a wider range of customers, but that its ability to innovate had been hindered by dealings with Eircom over access to its network.

Mr Murphy also said that the North, with a population of 1.6 million, was witnessing 2,700 new broadband connections every week.

More than 5,000 customers south of the Border should be signing on every week to match the North's progress, he said.

In a separate development, Eircom said broadband would be available to 90% of the population by March, 2006, thanks to its latest initiative.

Commercial director David McRedmond said high-speed internet was already available in towns with populations exceeding 1,500 and rejected criticism of its approach.

"Nobody can doubt Eircom's commitment to broadband," he said.

Mr McRedmond said that he remained confident that Irish broadband take-up would exceed the EU average before the end of 2007. Ireland currently sits near the bottom of the table in the EU.

More in this section

Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

The Business Hub

News and analysis on business, money and jobs from Munster and beyond by our expert team of business writers.

Sign up
Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up