Eircom not so smart …

For the lucky people out there living in Ireland as I do, i think you might appreciate what is currently happening with Smart Telecom (my current ISP) and Eircom (the ones selling internet connectivity to Smart). It was all over the news today : 40.000 Smart customers had their phone line cut out due to unpaid bills from Smart to Eircom approaching a woofing 4 millions Euros.

Now, one has to ask : what is the issue here ? Well, RTE One did well on presenting the fact on Prime Time aired at 9.30pm tonight, they invited a specialist and also the Chairman of IrelandOffline.org which has been on the case at the heart of the problem for a long time. The issue is clear and simple : Eircom is still free to control and decide about the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) which has caused very long delays in the process of enabling Ireland with proper Broadband Access throughout the country.

Sure, Smart has to be blamed to some extent mostly for having slightly over-estimated their advertising campain (and possibly got as a result less customers than expected), but that is irrelevant to the situation I am seeing in Ireland (which has been long dealt with for about 5 years back in France) : Comreg (The Office for Telecom Regulations) has failed to force Eircom into enabling proper LLU for other Broadband providers.

When you see that it took us until 2002 to get some kind of broadband (and back then, i was paying 100 euros a month for a 512k line plus the 50 euros bi-monthly rental from Eircom), it is somewhat outraging to see that Eircom once again managed to paralise and discredit a provider which has been ahead of the game for quite some time and is trying its best to provide real competition in the frozen Irish market.

Last of all, I’ve talked to a few friends (some of them being Smart customers) who panicked over the news and are seeking for a replacement Broadband provider. Why ? Give Smart a chance, fight is not over yet, proof is : the main share holder is injecting more money and they are still awaiting a trial decision concerning a 3G licence. So see ? There’s light at the end of the tunnel, may the future prove me right.

Smart, I salute you …