Homes and businesses in the Dublin area can now get high-speed wireless Internet access from Irish Broadband. The telco said on Monday that it had begun supplying customers with broadband via its service, which operates in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band.
Irish Broadband's products offer a lower contention ratio than standard DSL, which should make them attractive to small businesses, and consumers who want to guarantee a fast connection even at peak times.
Alvarion has supplied the hardware for the project, and the company believes that it shows that wireless has a key role to play in both urban and rural deployment.
"Fixed wireless has come of age in both Ireland and the UK," said Zvi Slonimsky, chief executive of Alvarion, in a statement.
"We are seeing a growing number of networks being rolled out by new operators, together with enterprises looking for superior solutions for building-to-building connectivity. We are pleased to help Irish Broadband succeed by providing its customers with what they need -- fast, reliable and inexpensive broadband connectivity," Slonimsky added.
Irish Broadband's business broadband range starts at 135 euros (£96) + VAT per month for a 512Kbps connection, rising to 250 euros (£180) + VAT per month for a 1Mbps connection, and 450 euros (£323) + VAT per month for a 2Mbps link.
These products all offer a contention ratio of four to one, meaning that a maximum of three other users will be sharing the bandwidth at any one time. Most standard ADSL broadband services come with a higher (i.e. worse) contention ratio.
The consumer products offer an eight-to-one contention ratio, compared to a standard consumer ADSL ratio of 50:1. The 512Kbps residential product costs 48.40 euros (£35), including VAT, per month, and the 1Mbps product costs 84.70 euros (£61), including VAT, per month.
These prices are more expensive than those available in the UK, but compare favourably with current prices in Ireland.
Customers will also face a significant start-up cost to cover the cost of installing the necessary equipment. The set-up fee for the business products is 365 euros (£260) plus VAT, compared to 381 euros (£273) including VAT for the consumer products.
Irish Broadband says it is confident that new customers will be connected quickly to its service.
"Fixed wireless is the ultimate access method for independent network operators like us. It enables us to provide a full broadband service independently, without relying on the last mile of the incumbent operator's copper infrastructure. It is easy and quick to install and enables us to reach new subscribers fast, connecting new customers within days of an initial order," said Paul Doody, managing director of Irish Broadband.