UTV launches voice & flat rate Internet services
Joe Desbonnet , 5 Sep 2002
UTV Internet today launched voice and internet services to Irish consumers, becoming the only Internet Service Provider to currently offer flat rate access. The new services will be available throughout Ireland. They will provide consumers with savings of 25% on Eircom call rates for local, national and international voice calls and off peak internet access (evenings and weekends) for a flat rate of EUR 30 per month.
Scott Taunton, Managing Director, UTV Internet said: "Irish telephone and internet users are suffering because of a lack of real competition in the marketplace. We are confident that UTV Internet's voice and internet offerings will deliver considerable savings to Irish consumers.
"Our new internet service is called UTVip and will allow subscribers virtually unlimited internet access every day at off-peak times for a flat rate of EUR 29.99 a month. There is a joining fee of EUR 30, but this is being waived for all sign-ups before Christmas. UTVip users will also automatically receive our telephone service as part of this package."
A similar service was launched by Esat (now EsatBT) a few years ago, but the service was controversially withdrawn last year when the company discovered the service was not economically viable. Since then, internet users have had no choice but to pay through the nose for metered dial up access.
David Long of Ireland Offline, a lobby group for broadband and unmetered internet access in Ireland, expressed delight at the new service from UTV Internet. "This truly is a step in the right direction. Although not a true 24/7 flat rate product, UTV Internet are offering a great deal given the current regulatory and competitive environment which has seen Ireland stuck in the bog with Internet access for far too long." said Mr. Long
The good news for Galways' Internet users doesn't stop there: EsatBT are due to launch ADSL in the Mervue and Galway City area in the coming months. At EUR 90 / month this service is not for the casual internet surfer, but it's a step in the right direction and as competition intensifies ADSL prices are expected to drop.