Eircom signed up more than 1,000 new high-speed internet customers in the first week following the launch of its consumer digital subscriber line (DSL) product. The firm also handled 5,000 calls inquiring about its new service, suggesting there is strong pent-up demand for consumer DSL products in the Republic.
Eircom's commercial director, Mr David McRedmond, said the initial response to its consumer DSL product was very encouraging but it was too early to set targets for the rest of the year.
He said the 1,000 new subscribers were divided equally between residential consumers and small and medium-sized businesses. Some DSL subscribers were probably using the internet for the first time at home, he said.
"There are signs that some people who are interested in DSL don't already use the internet at home and aren't transferring from an existing dial-up service," said Mr McRedmond.
The strong initial take-up figures for Eircom's consumer DSL service brings the total number of DSL connections supplied by the firm to close to 5,000. This is still a very low number when compared with other European states where cheap DSL products were launched earlier by firms.
But Mr McRedmond said that judging by the reaction to the consumer broadband product, it was clear it was a very different proposition from Eircom's previous i-stream offering, which notched up just 3,500 users in 12 months.
Eircom's consumer DSL service costs €54.45 per month compared with the more than €100 monthly fee charged by the firm for its previous DSL product.
Analysts believe the high cost of high-speed internet when it was first launched in the Republic last year restricted the use of DSL services severely.
Meanwhile, Esat BT said its own consumer DSL service was also selling well in its first few weeks since launch. An Esat BT spokeswoman said yesterday the firm was receiving 300 calls per day on DSL and translating about 70 per cent of these into sales.
"We are actually benefiting from all the advertising which Eircom is doing on its own DSL product. I think everyone's boats are rising," she said.
Esat BT's service, IOL Broadband, costs €49.49 per month. The firm also plans to launch a self-install DSL product shortly to reduce costs for subscribers.