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Line rental cost a barrier to broadband

Most would forgo DSL if price increased

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Over three-quarters of respondents to an online survey have said an increase in line rental charges would discourage them from getting DSL broadband.

In addition, nearly all of the respondents (96 per cent) said they would be unwilling to pay for any future increases in the cost of line rental, while 25 per cent said they were unaware broadband could be accessed without a landline.

The figures come from a survey conduced by broadband provider Digiweb through its website. In 2005 the Louth-based firm added "Metro" to its portfolio. The service uses wireless and cable modem technology to deliver digital telephony and internet access to users without the use of traditional phone lines. The firm's "Metro Lite" option, which was introduced a year later, offers broadband and telephone service for €19.95 per month, lower than the price of line rental alone, Digiweb claims.

Commenting on the results of the online poll, Emma O'Hare, a spokesperson for the company, said: "There is clearly reluctance among Irish consumers to pay additional line rental charges... they should be aware that broadband can be delivered over a number of platforms and paying line rental is often unnecessary just to get access to broadband and phone services."

In June of this year, Eircom announced it was to increase the cost of line rental by €1.18 to €25.36 per month. The telecoms operator said the average phone bill will increase by 3.6 per cent as a result of the new charges. The price change came into effect on 30 July.

Communications regulator ComReg responded to the increase in July by imposing a 12-month freeze on the prices Eircom charges for line rental. The freeze comes into effect from September. After it lapses in October 2008, Eircom will only be able to seek price increases in line with inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, for a further two years.

The regulator said the reason for the cap was to protect consumers from excessive price increases and to give Eircom an incentive to deliver its services as efficiently as possible.

© 2007 ENN

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