Here in Ireland one company owns (almost?) all the local phone lines, Eircom. Just about every other company who provides a DSL service has to rent from them (anyone remember Smart?). The result of which is very similar pricing from every single broadband provider.
There is a silver lining of sorts. Eircom promised that they would upgrade all exchanges to support higher speeds by the end of July. We’re getting perilously close to that deadline and still no sign of upgrades for many. I received an email from BT yesterday giving this upgrade time page where I typed my phone number in and found out,
Your line will be upgraded on the weekend of the 26th July
Good news for me then. My 2Mb line becomes a 3Mb one. The upload rate remains at 256Kb unfortunately.
I twittered that url yesterday and others found out they’ll have to wait until August 9th. The page above works even if you’re not using BT’s service. When will your broadband be upgraded?
Connectivity has been very flaky for the last few hours as my phoneline has degenerated into crackle hell. Making it worse is the fact that I dared move from the incumbant telco, Eircom, and became a customer of UTV Talk some time back.
UTV took my complaint after I waited for a customer representative for only a few moments. They checked my line and it flagged red so they passed on the complaint to Eircom to fix the line. That nagging feeling that I would be offline for a long time only got worse..
About an hour later someone did ring the house phone, and through the crackles and interference I think I was told an engineer would be out to check the line. Rejoice!
I’m still waiting, hours later. A call to 1901 proved fruitless – the automated voice said my line wasn’t an Eircom one so he couldn’t do anything else and shouting “agent” at the phone put me on hold waiting. I put my mobile on speaker and waited about 10 minutes before hanging up. Aren’t monopolies great?
I hope an engineer calls tomorrow.
Fellow Corkman, Pat Phelan has launched the Irish version of his All Free Calls service. It’s now possible for Irish people to make international calls at the price of a local or national call.
I’ve covered getting cheap calls in Ireland and abroad before but All Free Calls is a price that’ll be hard to beat. If your telephone provider offers a free calls package you’ll be able to make international calls for free! Eircom, UTV Internet and others offer free local calls so this should shake up the international calls market quite a bit.
Anytime free minutes bundles or packages are available from several Irish providers including Eircom, BT, Perlico etc. When you use the number shown on the website AllFreeCalls.ie the international part of your call is then free.
Disclaimer: I’ve met Pat twice, I’m subscribed to his blog but other than that I’m impartial!
Update: It’s not all free, 1890 and 0818 numbers are excluded from free call packages unfortunately. Pat clarifies the situation today. Still, local call is better than the silly amounts the incumbant charges for international calls.