Some 85pc of the Irish population have access to broadband, according to a report published today by the Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF). The report claims that just over 50pc of Irish internet users have access to the internet via broadband with the rest accessing it via dial-up.
This suggests that users have access to broadband via work, school, college or other locations as well as the home.
According to recent EU figures, only 10.5pc of the Irish population actually subscribe for broadband, well behind the EU average of 15.7pc.
When asked if this gap between estimated broadband coverage and actual subscription rates was due to some areas in Ireland simply having no coverage, TIF director Tommy McCabe said that there were broadband blackspots but that DSL and wireless served to overcome this problem.
“Ireland has a particularly diverse mix of technologies used to provide broadband. The research shows that approximately 75-80pc of the population have access to a wired broadband service while 60pc have access to a form of wireless broadband service,” he said.
However, he added that this is an aggregated nationwide figure so availability will vary greatly from individual location to location.
McCabe said that the disparity between availability of broadband and its current uptake indicates that there is not just a need to address the supply but also its demand.
The report by TIF outlined several recommendations to stimulate demand for broadband, including a greater ICT presence in Irish schools and also to highlight the benefits for businesses using broadband to accelerate growth in areas of online sales and teleworking.
McCabe said that businesses might not be aware of options such as remote working or filing tax returns online, which broadband would make possible.
Two weeks ago TIF produced the results of this report and their subsequent recommendations to the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD.
McCabe said: “Agreement is needed between Government and industry on what is affordable and achievable in terms of boosting the take-up of broadband. The recently published National Development Plan has shown the Government’s commitment to investing in telecommunications; it is vital that this money is spent wisely.”
McCabe said that the report was well received and that the Government has already commenced a public tender process and is sourcing some of the civil service to ensure government and industry can work better together to capitalise on broadband services and availability.
By Marie Boran