South Korea has the highest broadband penetration in the world, at 93pc of households, research released by Gartner has revealed. Ireland doesn’t figure on the table, as our overall penetration is a measly 22.9pc, according to ComReg’s latest quarterly report.
Five countries topped the 60pc penetration mark in the Gartner report – Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Korea and Hong Kong. The countries closer to Ireland’s end of the scale are Germany, Belgium and New Zealand, which are all at below 50pc penetration.
“Depending on the specific market conditions, availability of internet-enabled devices and the continued impact of broadband on consumer lifestyles, we expect some markets will have a broadband ceiling at 80pc or greater [by 2012],” says Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Commenting on Ireland’s conspicuous absence on the league table, Mark Kellett, chief executive of Magnet, which recently introduced a 50Mps broadband service told siliconrepublic.com:“I’m not surprised given the historical lack of co-ordinated effort to push broadband onto the national agenda and people not recognising it as important to the economy.
“Looking forward, there are good news stories of competitive announcements, such as increases in speed. Ireland ranks 13th on an OECD table in terms of fibre-optic penetration, ahead of the UK. It’s still very small, but significant,” he says.
The high broadband penetration rates seen in countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and the Netherlands demonstrate what’s possible under the right conditions.
“Consumers in heavily penetrated markets are already addicted to broadband, thus the future in these markets is less concerned with increasing subscriber numbers, and more with addressing what new applications and/or content will be transmitted over this pipe,” said Sabia.
“Newer ventures in these markets are primarily entertainment (such as Internet video content and games), internet protocol television (IPTV) and home networking, which will bring these devices and services into one integrated system within the home.”
Gartner predicts worldwide consumer broadband connections will grow from 323 million connections in 2007 to 499 million in 2012. Worldwide consumer broadband connections penetrated 18pc of households and, by 2012, this is expected to hit 25pc.
By Sorcha Corcoran
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