Ireland slipping in broadband league


IRELAND SLIPPED one place last year in a league table of broadband penetration for 30 industrialised nations, according to the latest report from the OECD.

Ireland ranked 21st at the end of 2008 with 20.57 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. This compared with 17.62 at the end of 2007.

Denmark had the highest penetration with 37.2 users per 100 inhabitants.

In total, Ireland had 896,346 broadband subscribers, placing the country 27th in the league table.

Only the Slovak Republic, Luxembourg and Iceland ranked behind us in this table.

The United States topped the table with 80 million users.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources yesterday, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said the country urgently needed to debate how best to deploy high-speed broadband across the country.

Ian McArdle, head of the CWU’s regulatory affairs, told the committee the union did not believe the €435 million set aside in the National Development Plan to support rural broadband development was adequate to reflect the Government’s commitment to a knowledge economy.

The CWU officials said high-speed broadband, provided over a fibre network, should be treated as a utility and urged the Government to play a role in what it said was an important strategic development, for the country.

But it stopped short of calling for Eircom to be nationalised or prescribing how best the Government might get involved in the roll out of a high-speed fibre network.