Ireland is still in the slow lane when it comes to broadband, according to a new survey, which indicates that more than a third of consumers here have broadband speeds of less than or equal to 30 megabits per second (mbps), the minimum target set out in the Government’s National Broadband Scheme.
The research by price comparison website Switcher.ie also reveals that one in 10 Irish households have super-slow broadband speeds of less than 3mbps, which is not fast enough to watch video streaming sites like Netflix.
In the US download speeds of less than 25mbps are no longer considered to meet the definition of broadband.
Despite the increasing importance of broadband, the survey, which was based on 1,000 online interviews, found that only 44 per cent of consumers were happy with their home broadband speeds, down from 51 per cent a year ago, while 27 per cent said they were unhappy with the speeds they were receiving.
The study also suggested that many consumers were unsure if they were getting the broadband speeds they had paid for.
Nearly 39 per cent did not even know what speed they had signed up to, while 42 per cent simply assumed they were getting what they had paid for.
In addition, 17 per cent of consumers suspected they were getting a lower speed than they should but had not taken any action to address it.
Broadband speed can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of connection being used and the location of the household. Providers also tend to advertise their maximum available speed, which is no guarantee that the customer will actually get it.
"Despite all of the talk about addressing the issue of sluggish broadband across the country, Irish broadband is still stuck in the slow lane," said managing director of Switcher.ie Eoin Clarke.
“In an increasingly digital world, broadband is now considered a household essential, alongside energy, so it’s very disappointing to see a drop in the average speed people say they’ve got in the home, and a corresponding decline in customer satisfaction.
Broadband speed test
“More worrying still is that our research shows that many are paying for speeds they are not actually getting, while six in 10 consumers are leaving themselves in the dark because they have never carried out a broadband speed test at home,” Mr Clarke said.
“Checking your broadband speed regularly is simple, quick and free, but is a really important step towards making sure you are getting what you pay for. It will also help you to identify any specific issues affecting your home broadband speed – such as a dip in speed at certain times of the day or with specific devices.”