New research shows that broadband dissatisfaction is not limited to rural areas in Ireland.
Digital inequality is a major issue around the world and the divide is disproportionately affecting people from underrepresented groups. The conversation around the need for a comprehensive broadband strategy in Ireland is one that has been going on for several years now.
According to new consumer research undertaken by Coyne Research on behalf of Imagine Communications, the issue of poor connectivity is not just confined to rural Ireland.
National dissatisfaction with broadband
Almost six out of 10 (58pc) of users nationally are not satisfied with current internet services. Of the minority that are very satisfied, there is little difference between urban and rural Ireland. Only 23pc in urban areas claim to be very satisfied, while this figure is only slightly lower in rural areas at 21pc.
42pc of all users would be prepared to switch provider to get high-speed broadband and 20pc of those in rural villages have speeds of less than 10Mb. 44pc of all users are not aware of their broadband speed.
Three-quarters of the all users experience buffering when they use the internet, while 56pc said that better high-speed connectivity would significantly improve their lives, rising to 60pc in rural areas. Across the country, 42pc of people feel that their community has been let down by the quality of connectivity they experience, rising considerably to 64pc in rural villages.
Findings give pause for thought
Commenting on the findings, CEO of Imagine Communications, Sean Bolger, said: “While the current discussion and media attention is focused on the State subsidising the roll-out of high-speed broadband to the 540,000 homes and businesses in rural and more remote areas, the assumption is that the National Broadband Plan’s objective of ensuring high-speed broadband to everyone will be achieved by commercial investment in the rest of the country.
“The NBP’s objectives are welcome, but these research findings indicate that despite announcements of commercial investment of over €1bn in more urban areas, high-speed reliable broadband has still not been delivered for many.”
He noted that the findings must give all stakeholders, including the State and private operators, pause for thought. “It’s time to consider, in a more joined-up way, how best we get high-speed broadband to everyone, everywhere across Ireland and in the most cost-effective way,” Bolger added.