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The uchoose news round up

written by Aidan_Coughlan
19.10.09 Posted in Home Utilities 1 0

Having been hinted at last week, WiMax burst forth in the last seven days to become the dominant broadband story on all the news pages.

An altogether easier way to catch up on the newsAn altogether easier way to catch up on the news

Taoiseach Brian Cowen launched the initiative in the Mansion House last week, while it was greeted with a good deal of public excitement as well - not because we’re a country of techies, or because we just unflinchingly adore everything associated with Mr Cowen; but because the recession-weary folks of Ireland noticed that the roll-out will create 200 much-needed jobs.

Intel and Motorola are behind the broadband project, which will come at a cost of €100m, according to the Irish Independent. Good to see some money doing the rounds…

 

Digital TV

Two Guardian stories this week, albeit both UK-based (a forecast of what's to come to these shores… in a decade or two), deal with the ever-increasing closeness between television and the internet.

Firstly, Sky has agreed a deal to make its content available via IP (internet protocol) technology, effectively marking the first step towards the elimination of rooftop satellite dishes. While this means that many families will have to find new ways of showing off to their neighbours, it also marks a significant move towards a heavier dependency on broadband technology in digital TV. WiMax may be coming to Ireland at just the right time…

On top of that, Channel 4 content will soon appear on YouTube just hours after its initial broadcast, thanks to a long-awaited handshake between the two companies this week. The material will be free of charge, and 3,000 hours worth of archive material will soon be added to the world’s favourite video-sharing site. Who even needs a television any more?

 

Mortgages

All the angry protestors outside Leinster House, demanding to know ‘Where’s my NAMA?’, will be pleased to know that it’s on its way. In a sense, at least. The newly agreed Programme for Government, thrashed out by the coalition parties last week, includes a provision for debt-laden individuals to write off a portion of their loans without being forced to seek bankruptcy or sell their homes.

Richard Curran of the Sunday Business Post writes:

“With IVAs, someone who can’t pay their debts agrees to disclose the full extent of their indebtedness to all creditors. Then, an independent financial adviser makes a ruling on how much of the individual’s debts should be written off. The scheme is only binding if creditors representing 75pc of the total debts agree to its terms.”

It probably won’t be great for your credit rating, but at least it keeps a roof over your head if worse comes to worst.

 

Insurance

Aviva is set to pocket €1.2bn as it prepares to float one of its Dutch operations, Delta Lloyd, later this year. It’s hard to say just yet what this could mean for the consumer,  but when a company like Aviva has that amount to play around with, you can be sure things will be shaken up to some extent at least. Watch this space.

 

Travel

New York is still a popular with shopper and tourists alike despite a fall-off in transatlantic trips because of the economic downturn, the Sunday Business Post reports.
NYC Visit, the tourist body for New York, expects the number of Irish visitors to the city to drop by just 5pc this year compared with last year. There were 353,000 Irish visits to New York last year, a 22pc increase from 290,000 in 2007, according to a joint survey carried out by NYC Visit and the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.
Four airlines have routes between Ireland and the US: Aer Lingus, Continental Airlines, American Airways and Delta.
Continental flies from Dublin to New York twice daily and from Shannon to Newark daily. Bob Schumacher, the carrier’s senior manager for Ireland and Britain, said that Ireland ‘‘has long been a very successful market for Continental’’.
Despite the global downturn, ‘‘this year is proving no exception’’, he said. ‘‘The Irish market is proving extremely resilient." Recession? What recession.

 

Utilities

There’s some interesting changes afoot in the utilities and energy market here, as once-powerful monopolies continue to crumble like abused biscuits. Bord Gáis has been the most high-profile beneficiary, following a hugely successful campaign to encourage users to switch over from the ESB.

But what goes around comes around, and while they penetrate one formerly closed market, another player is following their lead and encroaching on the space they used to hold so dear.

Flogas is making some serious inroads on the natural gas scene, offering a 9pc discount to the first 5,000 customers to switch from Bord Gáis. Gareth Naughton, in the Sunday Tribune, calculates that the average user (30,000 kwh) could save up to €226 - while heavier users (40,000 kwh) could hold on to €372 of their hard-earned cash.

Sparks will fly as these competing operators turn the heat up, but for now, it looks like going with the Flo could save your account balance from going up in smokeless fuel.

 


Aidan_Coughlan

Aidan Coughlan feels he would like to tell you where he's from, but a combination of a Cork family, a Wicklow rearing and a Dublin address mean that he has no idea who he is. He's a page designer for the Indo, manages musical acts and follows football.

Aidan_Coughlan
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