For the first time, Ireland has moved into the top 10 of the EU-27 countries in terms of household broadband penetration rates, new figures from the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) claimed today.
The latest quarterly report suggests that at the end of last year broadband subscriptions in Ireland reached 1.2 million, and that some 63pc of homes had a broadband connection.
According to the Informa data, excluding mobile broadband, subscriptions stood at 891,346.
Mobile penetration, including HSDPA, reached 121pc in Q4, resulting in a total of 5.3 million mobile-phone subscriptions at the end of the year.
The total number of text messages sent reached over 2.8 billion in Q4, up from 2.5 million the previous quarter.
Overall electronic communications market revenues decreased by 0.7pc to less than €1.1bn.
While both fixed-line and broadcasting revenues declined, mobile revenues increased in the quarter.
Fixed-line revenues retain the dominant share of communications at 49.6pc, followed by mobile at 46pc and broadcasting at 4.6pc.
Data provided by telecoms operators shows there were over 36.2 million voice over broadband minutes in Q4, a three-fold increase on voice over broadband minutes of 11.7 million in Q4 of 2007.
The top four fixed-line operators by revenue market share are Eircom (68.4pc), BT (14.5pc), Verizon (2.2pc) and Access (2.2pc).
Total internet subscriptions in Ireland increased to 1.43 million, a growth rate of 18.5pc on the fourth quarter of 2007.
The increase in broadband subscriptions was welcomed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD.
“We constantly hear about the lack of broadband, but today’s figures show yet again the great strides we are making in broadband in Ireland,” he said.
“It is particularly encouraging that Ireland has, for the first time, moved into the top 10 of the EU 27 countries in terms of household penetration rates.
“The National Broadband Scheme, which I launched some weeks ago, will see a broadband service in every part of Ireland by September of next year, and I look forward to continued growth that the scheme will facilitate.
“Broadband is a vital component of our communications policy to attract investment and create jobs. Once we have the whole country covered, we can turn our full attention to facilitating higher speeds and lower costs, enabling greater connection and economic activity,” Minister Ryan said.
By John Kennedy