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Web terminals go online in Irish pubs.

Copyright 1998, 1999 NMTV/Silicon.com
PUBLISHED: 0:20am on Thursday 18 November 1999

Two entrepreneurs who want to get all Ireland's pubs online have joined forces with BT subsidiary, Ocean, to kick-start the scheme.

The e-pub offering from EuroWeb, Ocean and kiosk supplier, NetNotes, won't be announced formally until the end of November, but EuroWeb co-director, Dan Herlihy, told Silicon.com that Ireland's national pub association, the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), has already signed-up.

"The intention is to put a public access Internet unit into every pub in Ireland within the next twelve to eighteen months," he said. "We're targeting about 4,000 pubs in the next six months that have already been identified - and we've got the full buy-in from the VFI." Ocean will offer, on average, a 30 percent discount on calls, as well as free email and a Web presence to each publican.

Herlihy said the terminals would offer punters services that they would normally have to leave the pub for - such as betting on horses and retail promotions. They would also provide free communications between the VFI and individual publicans.

The NetNotes terminals will offer a dial-up connection to email and the Internet, operated by phone cards. "It's a free service and installation for the publican," continued Herlihy. "After that, he's reliant on a combination of both cards that he can sell from behind the bar and publicly available sponsored cards from major advertisers. And, of course, he'll sell more beer."

But the concept is not yet proven. Denis O'Brien, CEO of Ocean's main rival, ESAT, commented: "I could be totally wrong but in Ireland anyway people go into the pub with their friends to have a pint and a drink, a bit of a laugh, and tell stories and such. I don't think they will buy a pint and sit at a terminal and actually use the Internet." If e-pubs works in Ireland, EuroWeb plans to expand into the UK from January.

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W: www.netshift.com

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