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The uchoose news round up

written by Aidan_Coughlan
13.10.09 Posted in Smart living 2 0

Adrian Weckler of The Sunday Business Post reports that Wimax Broadband is to launch in Dublin this week.

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


Run by Imagine, and replacing their Irish Broadband services, the new player in the market will offer speeds of up to 8Mbps, and is being touted by its developers as fourth-generation (4G) technology. Though this is a claim which will understandably be refuted by mobile operators, still branding themselves as 3G.
The service is not a mere addition to the list of wireless options available in the capital. Instead, Wimax technology allows for signals to be received up to 5km away from the transmitter - all you need is a subscription and a USB dongle (similar in size to a memory stick) to receive these far-reaching waves.
Digital TV
Racing UK meanwhile has announced that the horseracing channel is now available as a new and independent channel via Chorus ntl.

Irish cable customers can now watch every race live from the 30 of the UK’s best racecourses.

Upcoming highlights on Racing UK include the climax of the British Flat season with the Champions Day Meeting at Newmarket on October 17 and the Breeders’ Cup fixture on November 6 and 7.

Jumps enthusiasts can enjoy the start of the season-proper, marked by the showpiece Open Meeting at Cheltenham, which gets underway on Friday November 13. The three-day Open kicks off a wonderful six weeks of racing, which features the Hennessy Cognac Meeting at Newbury, the Tingle Creek fixture at Sandown and the King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

Racing UK will be available as a premium channel on electronic programme guide (EPG) 411 for €25 a month. Subscribers will also benefit from free race day tickets and members’ club packs.


The Money section of the Sunday Times leads with a story about imminent increases in mortgage payment protection over the next few weeks. The raise in premiums has been attributed to the somewhat inevitable rise in claims over the last year, as unemployment has soared and many home-owners have been left with no alternative option when it comes to payments.
The paper estimates that the rule-change will result in an increase of €9, from about €22 to €31, based on monthly payments of €600. But while this hit might come at just the wrong time for many mortgage-holders, it is worth remembering that these schemes will keep the wolf from the door for up to a year in the event of unemployment or illness. A relatively small price to pay for such huge piece of mind.
Most of this week’s aviation news was based around unfortunate stories of lost jobs, mergers, downsizing and possible strike action - following the announcement by Aer Lingus that it is to cut over 670 jobs - or indeed around liberal use of the Government jet by a certain somebody in Leinster House.

But to remind us all that such news can sometimes bring a smirk to our faces, Friday’s Guardian has reported that British Airways accidentally offered flights on its website, from US airports to the Indian subcontinent, for the grand price of $40. These lengthy journeys on the famously upmarket airline - we say famously because they’re the guys who still offer free in-flight booze - usually start at $805.
 If you were hoping for a story of the little man getting one over the big nasty corporate giants, though, you’ll be disappointed; BA have cancelled all the affected flights, given operating them at such prices would lose them millions in revenue. The US Transportation Department is looking into the matter.
Now we all know that the banks are unflinching models of virtue, never ceasing to impress us in their quest to provide a better life for us all. But sometimes, readers, they do manage to tick us off just a little bit.
As if their goodwill stakes weren’t already running a little thin, the Sunday Tribune has reported that they are charging up to €3.81 per page for printed statements. These statements are usually required when applying for a sizeable loan, a mortgage or for various other applications - and while the costs vary hugely between banks, one Tribune reader was nonetheless charged €127 for a year’s worth of statements. Michael Kilcoyne of the Consumer Association of Ireland has been predictably livid.
“It makes a mockery of the idea of free fees - all they are doing is printing out the pages and paying for a stamp. A charge of a couple of euro would cover costs. It is pure greed.”
Banks? Greedy? Never…
Borrowing/Personal Finance
The Sunday Business Post has an excellent personal finance guide in this week’s edition, with particular credit due to John Lowe for his 10-step guide to surfing the wave of recession.
Though some of the advice seems rather obvious - don’t waste resources, don’t dig yourself into more debt - there are some genuine nuggets of interest in there. And that’s not an easy plaudit to earn, when a recession-beating guide appears somewhere in print just about every other day.
Some worthy contents include:
Cut the cost of your borrowing
There is a simple but effective formula for dealing with debt. If you can, consolidate all your debt into a single, less expensive loan and then pay it off as quickly as possible. If you can’t, hustle all your lenders until they give you a better rate, and always pay the most expensive debt off first. The rate of interest you pay makes a huge difference. Don’t be complacent.
Be optimistic
The economy is cyclical, everyone is talking gloom, gloom, gloom now, but in cyclical course it will become boom, boom, boom again and when it does the canny will make a fortune.
If you are entrepreneurial, the recession is your friend. The costs of starting and running a business are lower in real terms than they have been for over a decade.
Suppliers, desperate for sales, are offering great deals and, if you are happy to buy second-hand equipment, there are amazing bargains to be had.
Rents are down, professional advisers are charging less and, crucially, there are plenty of skilled employees looking for work.
Another gem from the world of personal finance comes from the pages of The Irish Times. Fiona Reddan comments on the benefits, risks and processes involved in switching current accounts. The savings are there to be made, the piece advises, if you spend time looking after the fees you pay (or if possible pay none at all), if you keep an eye on interest rates and overdraft charges and - if you've got a head for numbers and desire to research - inspecting the possibility of packaged accounts (which come with perks that may or may not bear the trappings of a good deal for you).
Again, each point sounds somewhat obvious in its own right... but run them all together, and you can really get your head around the money-saving possibilities out there. The piece is available in full at


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.

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