Wireless broadband service provider Irish Broadband has announced it is entering the fixed line market in a drive to boost broadband uptake. The firm will offer a range of products and services to fixed line customers outside the coverage area of its wireless networks. Targeting both the business and residential segments, Irish Broadband hopes the move will enable it to reach more customers than any other alternative provider in the Republic. Prices start at EUR21.95 (USD28.90) for a basic home user package, rising to EUR169.95 for a premium business equivalent.
Irish Broadband is owned by National Toll Roads and offers wireless broadband access in most of the largest towns and cities in Ireland, says TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database. The company received a licence from ComReg in July 2002 and began connecting business and residential customers the following month. Its network licences and coverage for WLAN services in the 3.5GHz band extend to 27 regions including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Drogheda and Dundalk, Athlone, Arklow, Ennis, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Wexford and Carlow. The services are marketed under the brand names Ripwave and Breeze; the former uses patented wide-area wireless broadband technology supplied by Navini Networks of the US. Irish Broadband has also launched WiMAX in 14 cities using equipment based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard, purchased from Alvarion. It has gained about 30,000 customers since launch.
Earlier this week Irish Broadband refuted claims it is to be sold to a rival operator, and that instead, it is in negotiations about a new funding arrangement: ‘The company is in serious discussions with a number of parties,’ said a spokesman for the firm. ‘They have been ongoing since the end of last year and no decision has been reached with any party yet.’