Homes and businesses below average on broadband

28 Feb 2006

An estimated 16pc of households in Ireland with internet access used broadband compared with an EU average of 48pc, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal. The percentage of enterprises with broadband connections reached 48pc in 2005, well below the EU average of 63pc.

According to the figures released this morning, the number of broadband subscribers in Ireland increased from 63,100 in the second quarter of 2004 to just more than 176,000 in the corresponding quarter of 2005.

Among households, uptake of broadband increased from 2pc in 2004 to 16pc in 2005, but this is miniscule compared to the EU average of 48pc.

The CSO revealed the number of metered dial-up internet subscribers dropped during this period from 595,000 to 542,000.

The CSO report revealed that in the first quarter of 2003, broadband was used by just 1pc of subscribers to the internet.

There has since been a rapid growth in uptake since then, with broadband subscribers accounting for almost 22pc of total subscribers in the second quarter of 2005. Traditional metered dial-up subscriptions decreased from 97pc to 66pc of total subscriptions over the same period.

Narrowband flat-rate subscriptions to the internet have shown a sharp increase for the same period, going from just under 1pc to 12pc

Almost 81pc of broadband subscribers, the CSO says, used DSL for their connection during the second quarter of 2005. However, despite the fact that the numbers connecting to cable and fixed wireless access in Ireland increased, their share of the overall broadband market declined to 8pc and 10pc respectively.

In 2005, the percentage of enterprises with broadband connections reached 48pc. This was below the EU average of 63pc. The highest rates were in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, who were all above 80pc. The level of broadband access for business in Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia was similar to Ireland’s.

In terms of businesses accessing broadband, the number of firms with 10 or more employees deploying DSL connections rose from 18pc to 29pc in 2005. The services sector reported a higher usage of broadband than that of the manufacturing sector.

Some 22pc of enterprises also reported using other forms of broadband connections than DSL in 2005.

Overall the computer and related activities sector reported the highest levels of broadband usage compared with the hotels and other short-stay accommodation sector reporting the lowest uptake levels.

As a result of increased DSL uptake, ISDN connections fell from 39pc of the market in 2004 to 32pc in 2005.

By John Kennedy