Thursday 25 May 2017

Poor infrastructure weakens broadband

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ireland's broadband speeds remain "substantially below" the fastest speeds available to customers in other OECD countries, according to a report published by Forfas yesterday.

The government agency said that Communications Department and telecoms watchdog Comreg should review options to increase revenues and reduce costs and risks for private sector operators.

The report said broadband connections now accounted for 90pc of all internet connections in Ireland, compared to just 57pc in the first quarter of 2007.

It added that Ireland had 21.4 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants compared to the OECD average of 22.4, excluding mobile broadband services.

Just 0.6pc of total broadband connections in Ireland are made over fibre, compared to 11.3pc on average in 28 benchmarked OECD countries.

Jane Williams, chief executive of Forfas, said that advanced broadband services were "essential to underpinning entrepreneurship and innovation" in the country.

The Forfas report said that Ireland's "key weakness" was a lack of deployment of fibre infrastructure closer to the consumer for both wired and wireless networks.

Costs

The agency has suggested that costs and risks be reduced for private sector operators and that the introduction of a previously announced "one-stop shop" by the Government for providing operators with access to state-owned infrastructure should be progressed "swiftly".

The report also showed that just 5pc of broadband connections in Ireland were above 10 megabits per second -- a much lower proportion than in other EU countries such as Portugal, Belgium and Sweden.

Irish Independent

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