99pc of UPC broadband subscribers on 20Mbps speeds and higher

23 Feb 2012

UPC’s Irish division reported a 100,000 increase in broadband, phone and TV subscriptions in 2011. Total broadband subscribers amount to 255,400, a 28pc increase year-on-year. Some 99pc of UPC’s Irish broadband subscribers are on speeds of 20Mbps and higher.

Overall service subscriptions now stand at 886,400, up 13pc year-on-year. These include 386,400 digital TV subscribers (up 1pc) and 162,200 phone subscribers (up 68pc).

The number of subscribers signing up for UPC’s fibre-power broadband services increased by 56,200, a 28pc increase, that ended the year with 255,400 broadband subscribers.

The company revealed that more than 99pc of its customers are on speeds of 20Mbps.

Some 600,000 households are capable of receiving 100Mbps broadband if they wish.

UPC’s parent company Liberty Global reported revenues of US$9.5bn, up 5pc, and an operating profit of US$1.8bn, which was up 30pc.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, the CEO of UPC in Ireland Dana Strong said UPC’s sustained capital investment over the past six years will reach €500m by year’s end and that plans to increase its fibre footprint are being looked at.

“So we now have 600,000 households in Ireland passed by the 100Mbps speed which is a huge benefit for the broadband community and a big growth versus where we were this time last year. We’re delighted with our progress – that’s just over one-third of Irish households.

“The speed of adoption for us has been a really compelling story for UPC. If you want fast, reliable broadband and you’re a consumer you’re likely to choose UPC. So it was a good year for us, that’s for sure.

“Our total footprint on cable is 812,000 households and we are continuing to upgrade within that 812,000 so that 100Mbps would reach 90pc of the 812,000 households. Outside of the 812,000 no immediate plans but it is something that we are constantly reviewing.”

Strong says that while UPC has concentrated on metro areas like Dublin, Galway, Cork, Waterford and Limerick and other large towns, the economics of increasing fibre footprint to regional towns are not insurmountable.

“The main issue with infrastructure is getting to the town and if the town itself is dense in terms of fibre, it’s all about the affordability of the deployment. Just because someone is in a small town doesn’t mean it is unaffordable.

“It just depends on the infrastructure around that town and if its well served by a fibre ring passing close to it,” Strong said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years