Thursday, September 29, 2005

Comreg v 3 -- correction

So, a reader more knowledgeable than I in regulatory matters has pointed out that my previous post re 3 Ireland winning its appeal againt ComReg confuses two regulatory decisions: ComReg had found Voda and O2 jointly dominant in mobile call origination, but that was a separate decision. The one that was appealed relates to call termination on each provider's network. The appeal means that 3 can now basically charge what they want for other carriers to terminate calls on their network.

This could mean that 3 can make a large pile of cash by charging other operators big fees to terminate calls to 3 customers. However, I presume that other carriers will try to do the same thing and appeal their dominance decisions...

Thanks for the correction!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

IrelandDigital Podcast episode 5

The next episode of our IrelandDigital Podcast is up. You can get the mp3 here, or subscribe using iTunes by clicking the icon on the left.

Sound quality is a bit twangy this week due to some problems encoding in postproduction (this is my fault, not the studio's!) but we have some good content, including a remote interview wirth Steve via Skype from CTIA in San Francisco.

Topics include:

- Tom Kitt's article regarding e-enabling us all
- More on eircom and VoIP
- Alan's review of his Clearwire wireless broadband

... and more.

Send us your comments at irelanddigital at

Common sense prevails in 3 Ireland vs ComReg

A few months ago, ComReg found Ireland's 3 mobile operators to be "jointly dominant" in the market here. This included 3 Ireland, who hadn't even really launched its mobile service, let alone signed up any customers. Now, if you're not a regulatory nerd, you may not realise that being found to be "dominant" basically leads you to a world of pain, since ComReg can essentially regulate the crap out of you.

Today, the Electronic Communications Appeals Panel (ECAP) ruled against ComReg and found that 3 Ireland is not dominant, something that is intuitively obvious in every way except in the world of regulation.

Interestingly, this gives 3 an advantage versus O2 and Vodafone, who are still dominant (although they have appeals pending, too). As it stands, 3 will have a lot more flexibility than the other two, especially when it comes to whether they have to offer virtual network services to other wannabe mobile operators.

Score one for common sense!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

VoIP a boon to eircom or a threat?

Revisting a topic we talked about in our last IrelandDigital podcast, the Sunday Times has an article today about how VoIP will actually help eircom.

The argument is that eircom has essentially lost the battle for international call revenue -- once a hugely lucrative market, it now makes up only 6% of eircom's revenue.

As people move to VoIP telephony (the article talks about Skype, but the likes of Irish company Blueface are probably more relevant to eircom) more and more people will switch to broadband. Broadband is an increasingly important revenue segment for eircom. Remember, whether you buy DSL from eircom, British Telecom, Netsource or Digiweb, the largest chunk of revenue goes (directly or indirectly) to eircom.

Although this argument is persuasive, I agree with it only in the short term. It ignores a couple of important things: first of all, people are switching to broadband for lots of reasons, and VoIP is (and is likely to remain) a small motivator compared to all the other reasons people get broadband.

Most importantly, DSL and broadband are not the same thing, something that most media commentators seem to have difficulty grasping. Although DSL has been the first taste of broadband we Irish have gotten, it's hardly going to be the last. Experience in other markets shows that the availability of cable and wireless broadband can quickly cut DSL's market share.

The end result is that eircom are happy if people use DSL and VoIP but their revenues are going to be rightly screwed when people get used to VoIP and realise that they can get a far better, cheaper broadband (and VoIP) service over cable or wireless.

NTL's broadband rocks, for example; I've got NTL broadband and have ditched my eircom line completely in favour of a Blueface VoIP account. Eircom makes absolutley nothing from me every month! Digiweb's Metro service shows great promise, too. It gives you broadband + a VoIP line for only slightly more that eircom's line rental alone (although I've yet to test it out personally).

While eircom can try and convince themselves that VoIP is a boon to them, they'll have to do some real innovation to maintain broadband market share with so many competing technologies and companies poinsed to eat their lunch.

Friday, September 23, 2005

CTIA 2005

Steve is currently on his way to the CTIA wireless & entertainment conference in San Fran, which is on all next week.

He'll be joining the podcast via Skype next week to give us a full report live from the conference. No expense spared from the IrelandDigital podcat!

Tom Kitt on e-everything

Junior minister and government chief whip Tom Kitt has written an article about the government's efforts to e-enable us all. As you might expect from a politician, it's a bit long on buzzwords starting with "e-" and short on hard policies, so I emailed him and invited him to guest on the IrelandDigital podcast.

The one point he does consistantly make is that content, not access, is the key to a wired country. I'm not sure I agree, but if so ther'e no better way for him to support Irish content that to do our podcast!

I believe he'd be the first Irish politician to come on a podcast, and I'd love to ask some real questions about the government's strategy. So here's hoping he agrees.

No response at all since Monday. I suspect he has a staffer running around trying to find out what a "podcast" is :-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Comments on Podcast 4

Just some comments from me on our IrelandDigital podcast #4... the sound quality is finally getting really good, thanks to the guys in Digital Audio Productions who have given us studio time in their excellent Dublin city facility. Give them a call if you're looking for studio space for a podcast (or anything else).

One more sponsor plug: Irish online marketing company Twelve Horses have come in as sponsors of this month's podcasts, so a big-up to them for supporting Irish podcasts!

In Podcast #4 we talk about ComReg's recent backing down over local loop unbundling; new environmental waste charges applied to electronic goods; a meaty bit on the eircom/Meteor takeover; and a quick review of the PSP.

Thanks to guests Adrian Weckler of the Sunday Business Post and Donogh O'Donovan of McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors for providing us with some excellent commentary.

The links for the podcast again are

To get the podcast using iTunes, use this link
To get the MP3 directly, try this.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ireland AM sites

So, tomorrow morning I'm covering sites for people moving house or looking for property.
I know I said previously that these guys were blacklisted for having dumbass PR people, but I relented because the site is cool. If you're moving house, you give them your new address, and your ESB, eircom, NTL etc account details, and they change all your accounts over to your new address. And it's free.
This is probably Ireland's best site for buying property. It's got lots of cool features like a zoomable map of Ireland with all the properties marked on it.
If you're looking for a place to rent, this is the site to use. You may have come across DAFT already, but I'm always surprised by how many people haven't tried it and still use the Evening Herald or something similar. I've found my last 4 apartments on Daft, so I know it works!

IrelandDigital Podcast No.4

Latest IrelandDigital Podcast No.4 mp3 with special guests Adrian Weckler from the Sunday Business Post and Donogh O'Donoan from McCann Fitzgerald.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

RePOD of IrelandDigital No.3

Because of problems with the original Mp3 file of IrelandDigital NO.3, this is a RePod for those Listeners who got the corrupted file. mp3 .

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Real-time spam map

Mailinator (spam filtering guys) have used Google Maps to produce a Realtime Spam Map that you can click to see actual spam subject lines that have just been sent from different places around the world. Very addictive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

O2 announces new wifi phone

From The Register.... O2 announces new wifi phone..... is this the start of a trend?

The Daft Report: Irish rental property market analysis

If you rent in Ireland, you'll know about Daft, by far the best rental property website around these parts. They've run some cool stats on rental prices, average time-to-let, and other trends, broken down by city and Dublin postcode. It's all in The Daft Report.

That's a great use of the mountains of raw data they must have lying around!

Prob with Podcast No.3

Sorry folks - we had some gremlins with our garageband mixdown, and some music crept into the middle of our latest podcast.
This has now been rectified - so we hope you can redownload it again - either through iTunes or via the link in the podcast post below..

PSP working like a dream in Bitbuzz WiFi hotspots!

This pic of a PSP with new firmware successfully logging on to the net via wifi at the Bitbuzz Hotspot at Odessa Club, Dublin.

We might have to get a few now :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ireland Digital Podcast No.3

New IrelandDigital podcast mp3 for Sept. 12th 2005.

This week we have a special guest Nancy Gohring from IDG and we discuss the new Apple Products ( nano, ROKR ) , Virtual Playboy Babes, New Broadband Service Metro, WiMax and much more.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Embargoing a website

So, I was going to feature the very cool site on Ireland AM tomorrow but their PR agency emailed me and told me the site is "embargoed" until Wednesday so I'm not allowed to talk about it on TV til then. Now, you can embargo a press release, but this is a live website. WTF?

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, no plug for them! (and no link on this blog ;-)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Net Nanny series in production

We're currently recording the next series of Net Nanny, the RTE (Irish national broadcaster) radio show about computers, the internet and wired life. We're looking for people with a story to tell about how the net made an impact you their life. If you want to get in touch, just click over to the Net Nanny minisite and fill in the contact form.

Next IrelandDigital podcast

The next podcast is coming Monday... some cool things to look forward to: we have a great guest coming on the show. Nancy Gohring, of WiMax Net News and IDG is goign to join us to talk about the situation in Ireland re wireless broadband.

Also, we'll have a real, professional studio this time so the sound issues we've had in the past should be gone. If you're looking for studio space for a podcast (or anything else) talk to Dusty in Digital Audio Productions. These guys rock.

Of course, we'll be covering Apple's announcements yesterday about the new iPod and iTunes phone, as well as our regular news roundup and the wireless broadband feature.

Check back Monday evening for the podcast! In the meantime, check out the CultureSluts podcast if you're interested in Irish culture, music, bars etc. I guest star on the most recent episode :-)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ireland AM sites

On Ireland AM yesterday I reviewed three sites for wine & beer lovers in Ireland.
Home delivery of a wide selection of quality red & white wines by the case (you can also mix cases). There's lots of info about each wine to help you make your choice. Free delivery on most orders over €60, and 13-for-the-price-of-12 on all wines. Funky.

I have friends who use SimplyWines all the time and swear by it.
If you're a wine novice, this site will help you get started with answers to simple questions like "What win goes with Chinese food?", and what it means for a win to be "corked". I'm sure that if you asked a real wine lover what wine to drink with Chinese food they'd beat you about the head with a bottle of Chablis.
If you're a beer lover and sick of the poor selection in your local pub or off-license, this site is for you. You can order dozens of beers from countries as varied as Belgium, Thailand and the USA (or even Ireland!), delivered to your door. Mmmmm beeralicious.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

World's First Wi-Fi -Enabled Digital Cameras

Nikon lanuches digital cameras with built-in Wi-Fi. Each picture gets uploaded as soon as it's shot. Cool.

Friday, September 02, 2005 blogs about Wi-Fi battle in Dublin Airport

Bernard's blog has a good piece on the battle we're having to get cheap Wi-Fi into Dublin Airport, aainst the wishes of the airport authority who want to maintain a monopoly.

Podcast enters Irish Top 10

We're thrilled to say that our podcast has now hit #8 on the Irish iTunes charts. Thanks to all our readers & listeners for making it happen!

Alex & Steve

Thursday, September 01, 2005

iTunes Store Link

The IrelandDigital Podcast is now live in iTunes - link here