Two-thirds of Irish internet connections can be called ‘broadband’

10 Mar 2017

Image: asharkyu/Shutterstock

Anything below 25Mbps should not be called broadband.

Around 65pc of all fixed broadband speeds in Ireland are greater than 30Mbps, bringing them into line with the globally accepted definition of broadband.

According to ComReg’s Q4 2016 market report, 64.9pc of Irish homes and businesses have what can accurately be called broadband.

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission – the US telecoms regulator seen as a global barometer on telecoms matters – ruled that anything below 25Mbps can no longer be defined as broadband.

Speeds are up, but mobile revenues falling

According to the latest ComReg figures, average fixed broadband speeds continue to increase.

In Q4 2016, 78pc of so-called ‘broadband’ subscriptions were equal or greater than 10Mbps.

However, 64.9pc of all fixed subscriptions were greater than 30Mbps, up from 56.1pc a year earlier.

ComReg reported that 41.9pc of all mobile subscribers are now actively using 4G networks, up from 38.8pc in 2015.

Total voice traffic decreased by 0.1pc during the quarter and fell 1.7pc compared with Q4 2015.

Mobile minutes form the majority of voice minutes in Ireland, at 75.4pc, while fixed line minutes now stand at just 24.6pc.

Mobile ARPU (average revenue per user) fell to €23.01 from €24.62 in Q4 2015, which ComReg attributed to increased sales of bundled products and reductions in roaming and termination rates.

Regulator will need to show its teeth

ComReg itself – which has a new chairman in Gerry Fahy – is going to be sorely tested in the coming months, as it must show its mettle as a regulator on a number of core issues.

In particular, the regulator needs to bring clarity to the row over attempts by operators to reclassify data allowances to avoid adhering to the new EU roaming law.

The regulator will also be required to play a guiding role once the contracts for the National Broadband Plan are awarded, supposedly in June, to ensure that a fully functioning wholesale economy flourishes.

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