Broadband availability still a major issue – IrelandOffline

26 Oct 2005

More than 75pc of people with broadband spend over 20 hours a week online, showing that timed broadband packages aren’t suitable for most, a survey by IrelandOffline of more than 1,382 people from every county in Ireland, including input from major telcos and government departments, reveals. Some 42pc of respondents were from Dublin.

Of the survey respondents, almost 50pc were on DSL, 30pc on dial-up, 5pc on ISDN, 9pc wireless and 6pc on cable. Removing Dublin from the picture, the survey showed that 40pc of respondents were on DSL, 40pc on dial-up and the remainder across wireless, cable and ISDN.

Some 24pc of those surveyed admitted to being always-on in terms of accessing the internet, followed by 27pc spending 21-40 hours online per week and 25pc spending one to 20 hours a week online. Of those that admitted to being dial-up users, 51pc said they did not use a flat-rate internet product.

Availability and access to broadband remains a burning issue across the nation. For all of Ireland, some 67pc of those surveyed say they passed the line test, while 9pc failed the line test. Some 20pc of the respondents said broadband was not yet available in their area. This suggests about 29pc cannot get DSL countrywide. Some 88pc of the respondents based in the Dublin area say they passed the line test, 5pc fail the test on exchanges that have been enabled and some 3pc say it’s not available in their area.

Of those surveyed that are not on broadband, 73pc said they didn’t have broadband available to them, 18pc say they didn’t go for broadband because of price issues and 7pc said there were other factors at play.

When those surveyed were asked would they change their phone number if they got a deal such as Smart Telecom’s 2Mbps broadband offer with free line rental, 65pc of those surveyed said they had no issue with it. “When everyone relies more on their mobile than landline for calls I suppose it can’t be too surprising,” said IrelandOffline spokesman Damien Mulley.

Mulley said the findings contradict suggestions that there is currently no case for bulk migration and number portability as sought by local loop unbundling access seekers.

He said: Of the survey respondents, some 40pc, more than 400 people, said they were on dial-up. Some 88pc of these say they want broadband but can’t get it. So this demonstrates a strong demand for broadband.

“Overall, the Commission for Communications Regulation [ComReg] and the Minister for Communications Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD need to do more to increase the availability of broadband. A large proportion of Ireland’s population wants broadband but can’t get it.

“Obviously there has been a fall-off in demand for broadband in areas where broadband has been available. Demand in these areas has leveled off. However, broadband numbers in Ireland would increase in areas that don’t have it because that’s where the demand lies.

“My message to the Minister and ComReg is that there is still a pent-up demand for broadband in the many areas of Ireland that can’t get it. Also, more needs to be done to drive down the price of broadband,” Mulley said.

By John Kennedy