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Life in the fast lane now a real possibility across country

DSL broadband may still be the most popular type of broadband service in the country, but increasing numbers of people living in areas where non-DSL options are available are plumping for them, particularly cable.

According to Comreg's latest figures, subscriptions to cable services grew by over 30pc in the past year, far-outstripping any other type of service.

Bridget Keegan, from Rathfarnham in Dublin, recently switched to a UPC package that includes TV and telephone as well as broadband. The monthly cost is working out at around €80 per month, but she says she is saving around €100 a month over her previous providers of these services combined, including Eircom.

"I picked this provider as I wanted firstly to reduce my monthly outgoings and, secondly, the facility to combine utilities under one bill appealed to me," she explained.

With an advertised speed of 24mbps, she notices the difference in speed compared to her previous service, even though they use it primarily for simple, low-bandwidth applications, such as reserving flights, accommodation, theatre, cinema, paying bills and staying in touch with friends.

Mike McHugh and his family, living in Santry in Dublin. They are heavier users of broadband, but they are pretty happy with an 8mbps DSL service from Magnet.

"Working from home I upload and download a lot of large files," he says. "I'm a bit of an online gamer -- when I've time -- so a reliable, high speed connection is very important. The kids love YouTube, and my partner streams movies and music, which again need solid bandwidth and no download limits."

Magnet's service runs on DSL networks owned by Eircom, but because its equipment is separate from the Eircom, it can offer an "uncontended" service, which means he has his own dedicated line rather than one that is shared with others.

Mike works in IT, so this was a big selling point over the Eircom 7mbps he had previously.

"The Eircom line that I had was contended, which meant I was sharing it with other homes, so it used to be slow at peak times -- the times I needed it fast."

"I also work from home on large digital files, and with Magnet there is no download limit."

Mike reckons he is saving about €12 a month over his old service.

Irish Independent Supplement