News media firm buys internet provider


Independent News and Media, in association with sister company Princes Holdings, has purchased commercial Internet service provider (ISP), Internet Ireland, for an undisclosed sum.

The move precedes a major introduction of a new Irish Internet platform planned by the Independent group at the end of this month. The target market will be the domestic Irish consumer, primarily based outside of Dublin.

The Independent has said it plans to invest a further £12 million in Internet Ireland, to be divided between capital acquisitions and marketing. The new service will be delivered over high-speed broadband networks, comprised primarily of Princes Holdings' cable network.

It is not clear whether the new Internet service will be freely distributed, but going on the substantial customer gains made by free Internet service providers, considerable incentives would be needed if a pay model were introduced.

The Independent says it believes it is pulling together the key ingredients for a successful Internet platform by merging Princes Holdings' cable network, with the Independent's content through its 14 Irish publications and its international suite of newspapers.

Internet Ireland brings skills as an Internet service provider through the experiences of its two founders Mr Barry Breslin and Mr Michael Branagan, original founder of Indigo.

Through a joint venture with the Regional Newspapers Association of Ireland (RNAI), Internet Ireland has also been involved in an initiative to collate all regional press content and deliver it to the Internet.

The new service plans to take on Local Ireland, and - which has begun focusing on Ireland on a region-by-region basis.

It is understood the new venture would hope to sign up a minimum of 60,000 subscribers by the end of this year.