Rathmore Exchange to be broadband enabled…

For the last year and half I’ve been connecting to the internet via a wireless service provided by a local firm Torque Internet (recently taken over by Callidus Telecom). While the service has its ups and downs (the downs sometimes lasting 2 or 3 days at a time!) it’s a huge improvement on my previous ISDN based service (which was both expensive and slow – not as slow as dial-up admittedly).

Due to the unreliability of the service I still maintain my ISDN line and I revert back to it at least once a month; I find if the network goes down on a Friday afternoon it will not be fixed until Monday morning. Here in Eadestown we really could do with a more reliable broadband service but of course other than the afore mentioned ISDN and various Satellite based services (don’t go there – ask any rural school!!) the choices are limited as the local exchange is not ADSL enabled and the mobile phone companies have not yet rolled out 3G in the area. But hey, there’s light at the end of the tunnel as Eircom (the former state monopoly and now privately owned near-monopoly telecoms’ provider) has announced the enabling of a further 319 – mainly rural – exchanges over the next two years and Rathmore, Co. Kildare is on the list. Yipee….

UPDATE:

Of late the service from Callidus has been much more reliable, even to the extent that when the Grange Hill relay went down on the Friday afternoon before a long-weekend, it was back up and working by Saturday morning, in the past we would have waited until the following Tuesday afternoon for the service to be restored.

UPDATE: Jan 2008

I spoke too soon, since last summer the Omnitel (I know, another name change) service in Eadestown has taken a turn for the worst. Not only have we had 3 major outages last year (one lasting more than a week), the new year looks like continuing the trend (down since last Wednesday, now Monday 14th). Also, the 172.19.20.1 transmitter (aka Fr. Ryan’s) is either massively over-subscribed or faulty (high latency >500ms, lots of timeouts at peak times), I’m going with over-subscribed. At this sort of latency, satellite is starting to look like a viable alternative.

As I tend to get hits on this post during such downtimes driven by Google searches on either Omnitel, Callidus or Torque, here’s their support telephone number: (01) 8263546.

Update: Sunday Feb 02 2009

Gone again, four days and counting, this time the Grange Hill node was knocked out of action by last Wednesday nights storm.  No point ringing as the help line (3) no longer answers, I managed to get some information by dialing 4 for accounts, but by Friday afternoon that and the free phone sales number were ringing out! What a shower, I suppose they could be gone out of business but I suspect they had simply all gone home or gone down the pub.   Thankfully I still have my ISDN line.

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10 responses to “Rathmore Exchange to be broadband enabled…

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  3. I heard today that the eircom exchange in Rathmore was being upgraded at this very moment! Finally we could be getting out from the dark ages as the family home is stuck in a hollow and can’t even get wireless broadband!

    Laurie

    • Laurie,

      That is fantastic news! I actually noticed two Eircom vans heading towards Rathmore exchange while out for a walk in the snow this morning, hoping against hope that they were on “broadband business” as the local Omnitel network was down yet again.

      We’re just across the road from you in Newtown Grove and are also down in a hole, limiting wireless options to Farther Ryan’s Omnitel aerial, so great news for us too.

      Tom

  4. David Hickey

    Yes – it’s actually here.

    Signed up today (19 March) for WiMax broadband from Rathmore exchange ! The pre-sales guy from Eircom pulled up his van to the door and 1:30 today, and the deal was done by 2pm.

    Services on offer are 1Mb, 3Mb, 7MB, and 7.6Mb with uplink bandwidths of 128k, 384k, 384k, and 672k respectively.

    Pricing is Euro 25.09 for the basic package up to Euro 48.60 for the high end service. Connection is Euro 29.99 – for which you get a “free” self install WiFi modem in the post.

    Service is expected to be operational by 23 March.

    Supposedly the range is 3.5km, so Rathmore as far as Eadestown is being actively sold. Kilteel not, I am told, as coverage will not extend that far.

  5. David Hickey

    -Small corrections –

    Looks like it is actually DSL after all and not WiMax. Sales guy was very shakey on technical detail, so I’ve done my own checking, and based on the fact that WiMax requires Eircom to install an external antenna, I can now assume that a self install modem implies DSL !

    Secondly, switch on is Tuesday 24 March. Package will include Setanta Sports and option of voice bundle as well.

    David

  6. David Hickey

    – Coverage –

    The “Sales” guy comments on a 3.5km reach would be rubbish in a DSL environment. This might be an optimum distance. Service could extend many km beyond this depending on line quality. Of more relevance is the exchange you are connected to. Beyond Eadestown you are into Naas (enabled) or Blessington (enabled). Beyond Kilteel is likely to be Brittas (not enabled) or Rathcoole (enabled).

  7. Hi David,

    The 3.5Km range is for optimal connection speeds, it should be possible for houses up to 5km to get some sort of service , probably better than the speeds offered by the wireless providers. But as you said, it’s not really distance, it’s the ‘loss’ on the line that determines the quality of the service, however much beyond 5km (as the line runs) its unlikely to be a runner. Also many houses in the parish are served by very old copper and worse, ‘split lines’, which makes dial-up barely usable but with no hope of ADSL.

    As for Kilteel, anyone with an 01 number will be either Rathcoole or Brittas (which I think is now enabled) but will in most cases be too far from the exchanges. The advantage of Kilteel is its views of Saggart Hill and the Kildare plane which offers the possibility of multiple Wireless ISPs (Irish Broadband appears to OK) and of course mobile broadband options (eventually).

    The thing to do is even if beyond the 3.5KM inner ring is to get the line checked. If the copper isn’t suitable try getting it upgraded (local council pols are good for a touch now with elections due) its well worth doing even if it takes years as in the long-run houses (in particular family-houses) without decent access to the internet will suffer price-wise relative to their more fortunate neighbours.

    The other thing to be aware of, is that as soon as the Exchange is upgraded, Perlico, BT and others will also offer packages (often better than Eircom’s – isn’t competition marvellous!). You should check those out before signing with Eircom’s door-to-door salesmen (as you’ve seen, they’re salesfolks working purely under commission), if you have already signed and you find a more suitable package elsewhere you have a 7-day ‘cooling-off’ period under which you can cancel.

    Tom

  8. Kimberly Power

    Tom

    We are in Eadestown too and despite being sold broadband by BT last week we are now told that our lines are unsuitable. I have tried speaking to Eircom and BT to establish what the precise problem is with no success – any ideas where we go from here as my husband is trying to run an office from home with satellite broadband which needless to say is not very efficient as well as costly.

    Thanks for any advice you might have.

    Kim

  9. Hi Kimberly,

    I’ve sent you an email in reply.

    Tom