Ireland has seventh fastest broadband in world
Ireland has shot up the broadband leagues to become the seventh fastest internet country in the world, according to a new global index.
From being stuck in the slow lane of connectivity for years, Ireland has sprinted past Britain and Germany to sit just behind South Korea and Japan in the top tier of broadband- connected countries.
According to the global State Of The Internet index, Ireland's average broadband speed is 14 megabits per second (Mbs), which is the fourth best in Europe and the seventh best in the world. It also ranks three times faster than the global average broadband speed.
But despite the high ranking, the report says Ireland has a lot of work to do to spread its broadband services more widely across the country.
It says that two-thirds of the country still makes do with less than 10Mbs, a speed identified by the EU and others as sub-standard for many emerging web technologies. Despite upgrades from UPC and Eircom to their networks, less than one in five (18pc) of Irish broadband connections experiences speed of over 15Mbs, while a third of the Irish population still has an internet connection of less than 4Mbs, placing Ireland closer to Turkey and Portugal in terms of broadband distribution.
By comparison, over 80pc of homes in Britain have internet connections of over 4Mbs.
The index is compiled by networking firm Akamai, which compares speeds on millions of PCs and phones worldwide.
Ireland's mobile internet speeds ranked mid-table, according to the report, with average speeds measuring 6.2Mbs. However, the report said that peak mobile internet speeds here are clocked at 32Mbs, thanks to the introduction of 4G services in urban and city areas.
The report is likely to be welcomed by Irish authorities keen to point to an improvement in broadband infrastructure. However, it will also serve to highlight the deepening gulf between urban and rural areas, with a third of the population languishing with barely functional internet and mobile web services.
The Government says that the National Broadband Plan is due to go to tender later this year. The plan promises fibre broadband to every rural village and townland in the country at a cost of up to €500m of taxpayers' money.
UPC and Sky both recently announced faster broadband speeds for urban subscribers.