IrelandOffline, a campaign group lobbying for unmetered net access, and telecom operators keen to introduce services to their customers, hope to see radical changes soon.
Minister for Communications Dermot Ahern also backs deregulating the Internet.
Ahern is hoping to force Eircom, Ireland’s leading telecommunications company, to introduce unmetered access by 2003.
In the UK, Internet users pay a flat monthly fee, whereas Irish users must pay per minute.
“U.S. multinationals, which form the backbone of the Irish economy, are thinking long and hard about locating in Ireland because the infrastructure just isn’t there,” said Una McGirr, spokeswoman for ESAT BT, one of the main telecom operators in the republic.
In a recent OECD study, Ireland came out second from last in a worldwide league table of broadband connections.
“For the so-called Celtic Tiger and a nation aspiring to be the e-hub of Europe, this is a little contradictory,” said McGirr.