Tuesday, April 25 2006
by Deirdre McArdle
BT has announced on Tuesday that it has withdrawn from industry negotiations with Eircom on improving wholesale broadband provision to alternative operators. The negotiations were aiming to put in place automated processes for Eircom’s competitors to offer broadband services using Local Loop Unbundling (LLU). “It is with great reluctance that we withdraw from this industry forum. However, Eircom continues to frustrate the progress of
LLU and we do not see positive indications that a future change of ownership at the monopoly provider will bring a more progressive approach,” said BT Ireland CEO Danny McLaughlin, who went on to say that BT believes Eircom’s stance will “jeopardise industry investment and impact on Ireland’s competitiveness.” McLaughlin also claimed that ComReg does not have sufficient powers to improve the current situation.
A survey of Irish venture capitalist funds published on Tuesday shows most VCs are bullish about international interest in Irish firms. The Irish Venture Capital Association (ICVA) said 56 percent of its members expect more of their clients to float or exit through trade sales. Many VC funds are fully invested evidenced by a relatively small 25 percent who expect to invest in new companies this year compared to 80 percent last year. Eighty-seven percent of VCs are forecasting an increased level of exits from client companies through trade sales within the
same period suggesting continuing interest from international buyers. The ICVA said that VC investment would have to quadruple over the next five years to EUR4 billion if Ireland is to satisfy the demands in the marketplace. It confirmed that the venture capital community is engaged in fundraising activities at present to address these requirements.
Noel Dempsey, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, along with Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Minister Angela Smith have urged mobile phone companies to move faster to end inadvertent roaming charges. Both Ofcom and ComReg presented a report to the Ministers on the progress made by nine mobile hone companies, operating on the island of Ireland. The findings from the regulators’ survey
revealed that inadvertent roaming was still occurring on all networks in various locations. However, the report also
highlights the positive action, particularly of the Irish mobile phone companies, to tackle the issue through the introduction of new tariff options.
Telecoms firm Perlico Communications has launched two new broadband products on the Irish market. Perlico Broadband Lite is a time-based broadband service limited to 20 hours of internet access per month at a cost of EUR9.99. The telecoms firm has also slashed the price of its always-on home broadband service to EUR19.99 per month. With these offerings Iain McDonald, CEO of Perlico claims the firm is making broadband available for all.
Belfast-based technology firm Aepona has announced that it is extending its portfolio of software and services to deliver endto – end solution for real-time network services. Aepona, which provides services and application solution to telecoms firms, said it is developing its portfolio of end-to-end solutions in response to demand from its customers. The firm hopes that this new development will accelerate growth at the company.
Blanchardstown-based Servecentre announced the launch of a hosting structure for PopCap Games on Tuesday. Seattlebased PopCap recently set-up its European headquarters at the Digital Hub in Dublin. PopCap provides “casual games” on the web, mobile phones, and on airplanes. These old arcade-style free-to-play games are increasingly popular and Servecentre expects to host 1 million users every month. Companies can provide ideas to deliver broadband content to personal computers, televisions, MP3 players, mobile phones and networked games consoles.
For creative types, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast opened a competition for individuals and companies to submit ideas on how best to use broadband to deliver customer services. The creative sector in Northern Ireland is being invited to brainstorm ideas on how to use broadband to deliver services. DETI, working with public and private sector partners, is inviting interested parties to provide
broadband content that can be used by business, entertainment, communities, education and government
services. Four projects will be selected and used to promote the creative sector to external markets. DETI is contributing STG1.5 million to the initiative as part of the STG35 million Skills & Science Fund.