‘Irish lagging 3-5 years behind in NGN’ – Forfás

22 Jan 2010

While Ireland has made a lot of progress in terms of broadband availability and uptake in the past few years, it is still behind EU competitor countries in both its NGN rollout and number of broadband subscribers, says a report published today by Forfás.

The report stated “Ireland is lagging at least three to five years behind competitor countries in terms of rolling out infrastructure capable of high-speed next-generation broadband,” with only only 0.6pc of total broadband connections in the form of fibre connections.

In contrast, 11.3pc of subscribers in OECD-28 countries currently access the internet over fibre connections, with 21pc in Sweden, 46pc in South Korea and 51pc in Japan.

How many broadband connections

The report found that broadband connections now account for 90pc of internet connections in comparison to 58pc just over three years ago from Q1 of 2007 but the number of broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants is 21.4 in comparison to the OECD average of 22.4 and the 37 per 100 and 38.1 per 100 of Denmark and the Netherlands respectively.

In terms of business broadband offerings, the speed, cost and choice of providers has improved in the past few years but the highest business speed of 24Mbps is only available in parts of the main cities while 12Mbps is more readily available.

“Businesses in many other countries can also procure significantly faster services for the prices charged in Ireland, particularly those subscribing to the 12Mbps service,” stated the report.

The report went on to say that “in terms of residential connections, Ireland compares very poorly with leading countries in terms of the fastest speed broadly available”.

Fastest residential speed

The fastest residential connection in Ireland is 20.48 Mbps at a cost of €423 per annum (ex VAT), available to 35pc of Irish households, while the EU-15 average is a connection speed of 50.8Mbps at an annual cost of €430.

Forfas reports that in South Korea, France, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands some residential customers can avail of speeds of more than 100Mbps.

In fact, in Ireland only 5pc of broadband connections are above 10Mbps in stark contrast to Portugal’s 47pc, Belgium’s 45pc and Sweden’s 34.5pc.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Ireland is still behind EU competitor countries in both its NGN rollout and number of broadband subscribers,Forfás has reported