Just over half of Irish connections meet global definition of broadband

11 Dec 2015

Only 54pc of broadband subscriptions in Ireland measure up to what can now be internationally defined as broadband

Only 54pc of broadband subscriptions in Ireland measure up to what can now be internationally defined as broadband, according to new figures released by Ireland’s telecoms watchdog ComReg.

Almost a year ago, 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. The redefinition in January 2015 effectively tripled the number of US households without broadband and sent out a clarion call to telcos and regulators around the world who would prefer to have glossed up their broadband figures.

The latest figures from ComReg for the third quarter of 2015 found that approximately 54.2pc of all fixed broadband subscriptions were equal to or greater than 30Mbps.

This is nevertheless an improvement as it is up from 43.2pc a year ago.

ComReg found that in the third quarter of 2015, 67.3pc of all fixed broadband subscriptions were greater than 10Mbps, up from 61.8pc last year.

Overall, fixed broadband subscriptions in Ireland were up 4.4pc on last year and stood at 1.29m.

This puts broadband penetration (including mobile) at 80pc, just ahead of the EU average of 78pc.

The death of text, the rise of selfies

Irish people are using their landlines less and less, with the number of fixed voice subscriptions falling by 0.5pc to 1.49m.

Fixed voice traffic declined by 7pc compared to mobile voice traffic, which rose by 4.3pc.

Just as many mobile operators feared, the rise of over-the-top (OTT) services like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat are eating into traditional text traffic.

The total number of text messages sent by mobile users in Ireland during the third quarter was over 1.64bn, down 10.2pc on last year.

Interestingly, the number of multimedia messages (MMS) sent was up by 2.4pc on last year.

ComReg reported that 21pc of all mobile subscribers actively used 4G and data usage continues to grow.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) generated by mobile was €25.10 per month, down from €25.40 last year.

ComReg attributed this to the rise of bundled services like triple and quad play as well as reductions in roaming charges.

High-speed broadband image via Shutterstock

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