Elana Kehoe on Sun, 11 Nov 2001 01:05:38 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Irelandoffline Pressure Group Announces "Blackout" Protest

I'm looking for a hand here folks...we're trying to get some support from
outside Ireland on this.  We've gotten some great responses from the press
here, and the Register has a story on the Blackout, but the help from
larger media would be outstanding.  To be blunt, we have no broadband or
flat rate net access at all.  If you can't use it, can you pass it on to
someone you know who might be able to?

Thanks so much!





DUBLIN, IRELAND -- November 5, 2001 -- IrelandOffline, an independent
organisation working to bring affordable Internet access services to
Ireland, has announced the "IrelandOffline Blackout", a multipronged
protest scheduled to take place on Friday, November the 16th, 2001. The
protest has been organised to highlight the non-existence of flat-rate and
broadband Internet access services in Ireland - services that make
Internet access affordable and so promote the growth of Internet use,
e-commerce, and competition.

These services are widely available throughout Europe and the world, and
the IrelandOffline group contends that the lack of availability in Ireland
has already pushed the country into a position where it is unable to
compete on the global stage. It believes that Ireland can be kick-started
back into competitiveness, but to do that these products and services have
to be rolled out immediately. The IrelandOffline Blackout is the vehicle
the group has chosen to highlight this serious situation to the key
parties involved.

The group suggests several types of protest, but of note is a request that
Irish Internet users abstain from connecting to the Internet on November
the 16th, which it believes will send a clear message to Internet Service
Providers - that a significant portion of their customers are
disillusioned with the current situation, and demand the rollout of
competitive services. The group also proposes messages of support in email
signatures, vacation autoresponders and answering machines messages, and
the replacement of web pages with a supplied document that explains what
the Blackout is, and why it is happening.

Companies and organisations, large and small, who are even more directly
impacted by the ongoing lack of broadband and flat-rate connectivity
options in Ireland, are strongly encouraged to take part in the protest on
this date, up to and including replacing their corporate websites with the
IrelandOffline-supplied web page. The group is also encouraging student
groups and societies, college administrations, and consumer and business
groups to actively voice their support, both using the methods suggested,
and by communicating with the media on November the 16th.

The group states that it does not want to disrupt trade on November the
16th, but that it feels the Blackout protest is a necessary evil to
fast-track the rollout of these products and services. From the
IrelandOffline Blackout website: "The primary aim of the Blackout is to
draw attention to the problems in the telecommunications industry in
Ireland, and to educate consumers and businesspeople about these problems
and how they can be fixed. We are categorically not attempting to disrupt
business in Ireland. In the long term, in fact, we are trying to improve

For more information, please visit the IrelandOffline Blackout support
website at http://blackout.irelandoffline.org.


The IrelandOffline users group, initially formed in response to Esat
Fusion's abrupt decision to cut off 2,000 subscribers of its "Surf
NoLimits" program, is campaigning for affordable flat-rate and high-speed
Internet access services for all of Ireland. As part of that initiative,
Ireland Offline has already had meetings with Esat Fusion, the ODTR,
Minister Mary

O'Rourke, Eircom and other government members and telecoms companies; and
recently organised a seminar in Dublin with all of the key parties
involved - a first for any such organisation. The group currently
represents well over 1,000 Internet users, and this number continues to
rise daily.

For more information on the organisation, please visit the IrelandOffline
website at http://www.irelandoffline.com.


Adam Beecher
+353 (0)86 8544-767

Elana Kehoe



Member, IrelandOffline
Support the IrelandOffline Blackout!

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