Broadband services getting better despite criticism
Latest Comreg report suggests penetration rate here is higher than euro zone
ComReg’s latest report says just over 84% of all fixed broadband subscriptions were equal to or greater than 10 megabits per second, up from 79.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016
Despite the negative headlines, broadband services in the Republic are getting better. Regulator ComReg’s latest quarterly report on the electronics communications market suggests the State’s broadband penetration rate – for both fixed and mobile – is now at 88 per cent, which is higher than the euro zone average of 85 per cent.
The report also indicates that average download speeds in most parts of the State had improved over the last three months. It found just over 84 per cent of all fixed broadband subscriptions were equal to or greater than 10 megabits per second (Mbps), up from 79.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Just over 72 per cent of all fixed broadband subscriptions were found to be equal to or greater than 30Mbps, the minimum speed laid down in the Government’s National Broadband Plan, up from 64.9 per cent the previous year.
The report also revealed that fixed broadband subscriptions rose by 3 per cent to 1.4 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.
While the figures will come as cold comfort for those still located in so-called broadband “black spots”, they suggest broadband services in the Republic are far from static.
The ComReg figures also show that the average Irish mobile phone user, on a monthly basis, used 215 minutes of voice time, sent 83 texts and used 4.8GB of data.
The 4.8 GB of data represented an annual increase of 52.3 per cent and reflects the spike in demand for video and music streaming services.
Of all mobile subscriptions, 47.2 per cent were actively using 4G networks in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 41.6 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions, which cover automated wired or wireless communications, rose to 828,780, a 23.6 per cent annual increase.
Eir’s recent decision to pull out of the Government’s National Broadband Plan, leaving just one bidder in the race, has thrown the process into disarray, with the Government being accused by Opposition parties and rural bodies of presiding over a failure and leaving more than 540,000 households and businesses in limbo.