At the end of June there were 372,200 broadband subscribers and this is currently estimated at over 410,000, the latest quarterly report from the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has claimed.
The regulator said there is increased competition in the market, with Eircom’s DSL product now accounting for 52pc of subscriptions, compared with 61pc last year.
The latest quarter report looking at the second quarter of 2006 revealed that there are now in excess of 955,000 internet subscribers in Ireland, 39pc of whom are using broadband.
The report revealed that despite the predominance of narrowband such as dial-up, a gradual decline is under way having declined 10pc in the last 12 months.
Wholesale bitstream, which enables other authorised operators (OAOs) to resell Eircom’s DSL service, now accounts for 24pc of all DSL connections. A further 5pc of DSL lines are provided by OAOs using local loop unbundling (LLU).
The report showed that at the end of June there were almost 15,000 local loops unbundled, a 60pc quarterly increase in unbundled lines.
Despite this, Ireland’s proportion of unbundled lines as a percentage of DSL lines — at 5pc — remains behind the EU average at 18pc.
Overall broadband in Ireland grew at a rate of 109pc between Q2 in 2005 and Q2 in 2006.
Speaking to siliconrepublic.com, the chairperson of ComReg, Isolde Goggin said she was satisfied that broadband in Ireland was on a “good trajectory”.
She said: “If our aim would be to meet if not exceed the European average we would still need to see some real gains. It’s really about supply and availability and, of course, demand.”
On the LLU front, Goggin admitted Ireland “could move a lot faster than we are” but said she was confident that “incremental progress” is still being made.
The quarterly ComReg report revealed that mobile phone penetration in the Irish marketplace moved up a percentage point to hit 103pc.\
According to the figures, Irish mobile subscribers talked for over 1.5 billion minutes in the first quarter of this year. More people are sending multimedia and picture messages, with some 7.8 million multimedia messages sent.
It also emerged that 543,000 mobile subscribers retained their original phone number when switching operators.
By John Kennedy