Irish ISP Eircom ushers in three strikes

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Irish ISP Eircom ushers in three strikes

And 128 Kbps free music streaming.

Incumbent Irish carrier, Eircom, is rolling out the nation’s first three-strikes piracy policy despite a recent ruling which found that its law could not be used to enforce disconnections.

The Irish carrier, once owned by collapsed Australian investment giant Babcock & Brown, has been trialling a graduated response program in conjunction with the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) since June this year, following an out-of-court agreement in 2009 with the association to introduce the program.

“Eircom is proceeding with implementation of the protocol which could result in the suspension and ultimately disconnection of broadband service for those customers who deliberately and persistently infringe copyright,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Eircom, which like many carriers had initially opposed the program, has reported it was issuing 1,000 copyright infringement notices a week.

The program will be introduced in conjunction with the MusicHub platform, which will deliver a free streaming service supplied with tunes from Universal Music UK, Sony, EMI, Warner Music and Merlin.

Customers can also pay €5.99 to download 15 tracks a month or €12.99 a month for 40 tracks a month.

Eircom is attempting to reel in a €3 billion debt burden in the face of declining revenues and an economy steeped in recession.

While the free 128 kbps bitrate streaming -- a lower quality than the ad-supported service offered to UK citizens by Sweden’s Spotify -- may prove popular, convincing customers to pay is sure to prove challenging.

Eircom’s chief executive officer Paul Donovan said at November’s earnings update that he doubted customers would spend more money anytime soon.  

Meanwhile, rival Irish ISP, UPC, has refused to introduce a three strikes program after its recent victory against the IRMA. In a similar vein to Australian ISP iiNet, UPC insisted that it was merely a conduit of services and therefore could not be held liable for its customers’ actions.

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