Tag: eircom

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) launched

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) launched yesterday. Ubuntu is a linux distribution with a focus on desktop systems and usability. It issues major releases at pre-scheduled six monthly intervals.

I installed the previous version of Ubuntu (7.04) on one of my laptops recently and was very impressed with its performance and stability.

The update from 7.04 to 7.10 was completely painless – it was a one button click in the Update Manager!

The new version has lots of tweaks and newer versions of applications but it also has eye candy visual effects built-in (System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects:


I have had one problem with 7.10 so far and that is that it won’t remember my DNS settings. I’m not sure why that is or if it is only me. I normally use OpenDNS for my DNS – it is annoying to go back to Eircom’s significantly slower DNS servers after using OpenDNS servers for so long now.

BT Broadband users can be hacked!

James Galvin posted a couple of weeks ago about a recently published exploit which made hacking Eircom’s wireless routers trivial.

As Eircom are the largest provider of residential broadband in Ireland, this is potentially a big deal. As Joe Drumgoole commented at the time:

they have inadvertently created Ireland’s largest free WIFI network. Good man Eircom!

However, BT is now facing an even more serious issue on its wireless routers according to an article in the Register today. At least in Eircom’s case, the vulnerability only exposed the WEP key, allowing use of the wifi on the router.

In the case of the BT router, the Reg is reporting that

a remote attacker can quietly gain full administrator control over a device simply by social engineering a user into visiting a website. The exploit makes it possible to steal a user’s WPA key, listen in on VoIP calls, steal VoIP credentials or change DNS settings so users are silently redirected to fraudulent websites

This is a far more serious an issue then the Eircom one and the number of routers this affected is likely to be orders of magnitude greater.

The one saving grace is that the hack hasn’t been published in the wild, as was the case with Eircom. Yet.

Appalling state of broadband in Ireland

Forfás* released a damning report on the state of broadband in Ireland on 30th November 2006. Remember, Forfás is an Irish governmental agency operating under the auspices of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The report is 34 pages in PDF format. Let me summarise some of the main findings for you:

The report found that:

In 2005, the European Commission estimated that DSL coverage in Ireland based on population stood at 72%, making it the second lowest of the EU-15 countries. Rural DSL availability was just 38% of the population

In this graph you can see the poor uptake of broadband in Ireland – Ireland (in green near the bottom) ranks 21st out of 24 EU countries surveyed, slightly ahead of Slovakia and Cyprus.

Broadband penetration by household

When you look at the quality of the broadband offerings in comparison to other countries, you can see how far behind Ireland is:
Quality of Service

One of the principal reasons for this, according to the Forfás report is the unbelievably slow rate of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) in Ireland as the incumbent telecom (Eircom) aided and abetted by its partner Comreg the does everything in its power to thwart any attempts to unbundle.

Check out the graph to see how far behind we are internationally in terms of LLU.
Local Loop Unbundling

Noel Dempsey has been the minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources happily overseeing Ireland’s lack of broadband and all that this means for our competitiveness internationally.

Eircom’s desire to stop LLU, I can understand, but you have to wonder what are the motivations of Comreg and Noel Dempsey for perpetuating this state of affairs. They are supposed to be working in the interests of the Irish people. I can only guess what promises have been made to whom.

*Forfás is:

Ireland’s national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation

Blueface service down yet again this morning

This morning I was unable to receive incoming calls on my Blueface service. I discovered this when Brian Greene tried to call me. Fortunately we were having an IM chat on Skype at the time so we were able to talk on Skype instead but had it not been for that, I would have been blissfully unaware that there was any problem.

Blueface has me blue in the face.

I have written before about what a crap service I am receiving from voip telephony provider Blueface. Now I know why they are called Blueface.

Yet again today the Blueface service is down and I can’t make outgoing calls from my landline. And anyone who has called me on my mobile knows just how bad mobile reception is here.

It will be difficult to extract myself from Blueface now, as the contact number I have given everyone is the number Blueface have given me.

For anyone considering using their service – don’t. Use any other telephony provider, even Eircom! Really.

UPDATE: – I seem to be having problems with incoming calls as well – if you have been trying to ring me, ring my mobile – +353-86-384 0828

ComReg craps on consumers (again)

Pat reported this morning that Smart Telecom’s phone service was down. Their upstream provider, Eircom, cut them off for non-payment of bills leaving 40,000+ of Smart’s customers with no phone service.

Were I cynical I’d suggest that Eircom did this as a cheap means of acquiring 40,000+ new customers.

The Irish telecom’s regulator, ComReg (aka Eircom’s lapdog) knew this was coming for a long time and never bothered stepping in to try to resolve the dispute – why would they? It is not as if ComReg gives a toss about the consumer. Nope, yet again they (in)acted in Eircom’s interest.

It will be interesting to see what position Isolde Goggin will be offered in Eircom when she steps down as ComReg Chair.

52mb broadband for

Damien posted the following table of international broadband data from the ITU

International broadband comparisons

Notice Japan has 50mb broadband for less than $32 per month?

According to Damien the comparable Irish figures are:

eircom broadband business plus – 4MB – €107.69 inc vat
eircom broadband business enhanced – 5MB – €204 inc vat

Digiweb Metro Plus – 5MB – €78.65
Digiweb Metro Xpress – 8Mb – €163.35

The Irish minister for communications broadband suppression should be shot or at least fired for gross incompetence.

ComReg – the Telecoms Poodle

ComReg is the Irish telecoms poodle as opposed to the Irish Telecoms regulator which is what they claim to be! This is the organisation which has presided over Ireland being one of the most expensive countries in Europe for broadband and consequently Ireland having one of the lowest rates of uptake for broadband in Europe.

As a regulator, ComReg is worse than useless because they do nothing to help the rollout of broadband and thus are part of the problem.

So when you get the telecoms regulator rolling over every time Eircom says “boo!” you know you have a telecoms poodle not a regulator.