Rural broadband speeds are up to 36 times slower

New survey reveals the areas with the fastest and slowest internet speeds in the country

Broadband speeds in some rural areas of Ireland are up to 36 times slower than those in towns and cities, according to a new survey.

Broadband speeds in some rural areas of Ireland are up to 36 times slower than those in towns and cities, according to a new survey.

 

Broadband speeds in some rural areas of Ireland are up to 36 times slower than those in towns and cities, a survey by price comparison website Switcher has revealed.

The study also found that only a quarter of households receive internet speeds of 30 megabits per second (mbps), the minimum target set out in the Government’s National Broadband Plan.

Based on 27,000 consumer speed tests, the Switcher research points to a major urban/rural digital divide and one that has grown rather than narrowed with the advent of newer technologies.

It found Legan in Co Longford was officially the slowest area in the State, with average broadband speed of just 2mbps, which was 36 times slower than Drimnagh in Dublin 12, the fastest area, which enjoyed an average speed of 72mbps.

This means it would take someone living in Legan more than 3½ hours to download a typical two-hour film, while people in Drimnagh could do it in six minutes.

Real difference

This latter figure contrasted with the official ComReg data, which suggests that there is a real difference between what people are signing up for and what they are getting.

On a county-by-county basis, the survey found Dublin had the highest average internet speed, followed by Waterford, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath.

The county with the slowest speed was Longford, with Leitrim, Roscommon, Monaghan and Mayo making up the bottom five.

The uneven range of broadband services reveals the scale of the challenge facing the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP), which is still at the procurement stage.

The scheme aims to connect 927,000 homes and premises across rural Ireland to a high-speed network by 2022.

The Switcher survey reveals that only 25 per cent of homes currently receive internet speeds of 30mpbs, the minimum NBP target.

Digital divide

Switcher managing director Eoin Clarke said the stark digital divide in Ireland could have a real impact on quality of life for people in the various areas as well as impact on house prices, education and local business.

“We’re seeing lightning speeds in certain areas, largely where there has already been investment made in fibre to the home networks,” he said.

“However, in many areas, we are still a long way off these kinds of speeds and slow broadband is a frustration that thousands of people in these places have to deal with every day.”

Eir, the State’s largest broadband provider, claimed the company was the only operator addressing the issue of access to high-speed broadband in rural Ireland.

Rival Siro, however, said its fibre network, which is being rolled out along the ESB’s electricity network, was revolutionising Ireland’s broadband market.