Ireland lags on superfast broadband, above average in mobile broadband

13 Jun 2013

Ireland does well in providing basic broadband to more than 97pc of the population (95.5pc in the EU), including 94pc in rural areas, but has a bigger challenge when it comes to meeting superfast broadband targets, the European Commission’s annual Digital Agenda Scoreboard reveals.

At the moment, 42.1pc of Irish homes can subscribe to superfast broadband services, defined as services delivering at least 30Mbps. This places Ireland in 27th place out of the 31 countries the scoreboard covers (the EU-27, plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey).

Ireland scores better than average in mobile broadband take-up, at 78.1pc (the EU average is 54.5pc), but has a relatively low take-up of fixed broadband (24.6pc compared to a European average of 28.8pc), while the share of high-speed connections is higher than average (20.4pc compared to 14.8pc in the EU).

The Digital Agenda Scoreboard shows that while Europeans have basic digital networks and services, they are missing out on potential benefits of the digital revolution, because of problems in Europe’s telecoms and wider digital markets.

To address this long-standing issue, the European Commission will adopt proposals later this year to create a single telecoms market.

Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, said the data in the scoreboard shows that the biggest problem this year is lack of investment in fast networks and a continuing lack of a real telecoms market.

“I am glad that basic internet is now virtually everywhere in the EU, but we can’t get stuck playing yesterday’s game,” said Kroes.

“The problem is clear and our response via a single telecoms market package will be, too.”

The EU has set a target that all EU citizens can get access to superfast broadband at home by 2020.

High-speed internet image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic