The latest report from the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) for Q4 of 2009 shows that broadband penetration (including mobile broadband) in Ireland reached 32.4pc for this period from October to December of last year.
This number is up from 30.5pc in the last quarter but if mobile broadband subscriptions are removed from the picture, this number drops to 21.9pc, these figures being based on CSO data of a population of 4,459,300.
ComReg also pointed out that there is the possibility of double counting included in the broadband penetration, as some broadband users may have both a fixed line and mobile broadband subscription.
However, the broadband household penetration rate of the 1.6m households here in Ireland is 61pc, up slightly from 59.4pc in Q3 of 2009.
ComReg points out that if we go by data from specialist information firm Informa (which uses a household figure of about 1.49m), our household broadband penetration rate is at 57.9pc, but this still outs us above the EU27 average of 55.5pc.
Ireland is below EU average for broadband penetration in overall population
If we look at broadband penetration in the overall population, Ireland falls below the EU average: while this is 23.5pc, we stand at 21.9pc, says Informa.
Wi-Fi hotspots are decreasing
Meanwhile, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots has decreased by 5pc since Q4 2008: there are now 1,357 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Ireland but the number of Wi-Fi access points increased by 8pc over the same period, with a total of 3,561.
We’re not using Wi-Fi hotspots as much as we used to, either. In Q4 of 2009, there were about 20m Wi-Fi minutes of use, which is a 3.4pc drop on the year previous; perhaps a sign that the recession had an impact on traffic through cafes and hotels here.
We’re moving towards post-paid mobile
Although mobile phone users here in Ireland have always leaned heavily towards a pre-pay or a pay-as-you-go contract with their operator of choice, the market is slowly but steadily changing, as ComReg has observed.
In Q4 of 2007, only 27.9pc of us had post-pay mobile subscriptions in contrast to 72.1pc going with pre-pay. By Q4 of 2009, we are now at 32.5pc post-pay, with the result that pre-pay has dropped to 67.5pc.
By Marie Boran
Photo: Ireland falls below the EU average when it comes to broadband penetration in the overall population – while the EU average is 23.5pc, Ireland stands at 21.9pc, says Informa