Irish broadband uptake finally outgrows narrowband

21 Jun 2007

For the first time ever broadband subscription rates in Ireland have exceeded those of narrowband at 58pc of overall internet subscriptions.

Of the 602,000 current broadband subscribers , 84,000 have signed since January of this year, the highest quarterly uptake since broadband’s Irish introduction in 2002.

In ComReg’s (Commission for Communications Regulation) first 2007 quarterly report, it was estimated that roughly 450,000 broadband subscribers are home users, which would put broadband uptake at 30pc of all Irish households compared with 25.4pc in the last quarter.

Although broadband penetration growth is at 5.8pc, above the OECD average of 3.4pc, it was claimed that penetration is at 14.2pc.

As of December 2006, our broadband penetration was 12.5pc according to the OECD, which put us behind the average of 16.9pc and far behind the leader Denmark which has 32pc.

Wi-Fi hotspots have grown by 3pc in the last quarter, putting the total number countrywide at 1,271. These hotspots are supported by a total number of 2,267 WiFi access points.

On the other end of the scale, Ireland trumps the OECD average for mobile phone penetration by 6pc, at 112pc.

The report noted that despite mobile saturation, the number of subscribers increased by 1pc, bringing the total to 4.7 million.

In the last quarter the Irish have sent and received over 1.7 billion text messages and used more than two billion voice minutes on their handsets.

Unlike our US counterparts, Irish mobile users veer heavily towards prepaid options, accounting for 75pc of all active subscriptions.

Interestingly, this figure has remained the same since 2005 in spite of the emergence of 3G mobile and the benefits a monthly price plan would lend to this.

By Marie Boran