Sunday 18 February 2018

Almost one in three Irish households don't have broadband connected

Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Just over three in 10 households in Ireland don't have a fixed broadband connection, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

Ireland ranks below the European Union average in this regard, with households in three-quarters of EU countries having a fixed broadband connection.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands have the highest rate of households with fixed broadband, at 96pc and 95pc respectively.

Italy was at the bottom of the European list with just over one in two households having a fixed broadband connection.

The information comes after it was reported earlier this month that a number of rural towns will have Ireland's fastest fibre broadband in the next two years, outpacing Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other major urban areas.

A new joint venture between telecoms firm Enet and energy company SSE is to connect 115,000 homes and businesses to fibre broadband that delivers speeds of 1,000Mbs, dwarfing existing broadband services.

The towns to get the service over the next two years include Ballinasloe, Roscommon Town, Manorhamilton, Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal Town, Ballybofey and Buncrana.

However, the service will only be available in communities already earmarked for another fibre broadband rollout from Eir, scheduled for completion in 2018.

Access to fast, reliable internet connections can make or break the economic prospects of communities. Across the EU almost 90pc of people used the internet at least once a day in the three months prior to the Eurostat survey.

In the EU as a whole, rural dwellers are less likely to have good interent access and 86pc of city dwellers use the internet daily, compared with 75pc in rural areas.

Ireland came in just below the EU average for internet usage, with 85pc of people using it on a daily basis.

Only 14pc of EU citizens have not used the internet, down from 27pc when the survey was undertaken in 2010.

The highest shares of daily internet users were found in Italy and Luxembourg where at least 95pc of citizens log on to it on a daily basis.

Nowadays, internet users have many options as to how they can go online and they often use more than one device to do so.

Last year smartphones were the most frequently used device for people connecting online, with eight in ten internet users in the EU saying that they used their phone for the web.

Almost two-thirds of people said they used a laptop or netbook to use the internet, while 54pc used a desktop computer and 44pc used a tablet. Focusing on people who go online via smartphones, the highest shares of users accessing the internet via a mobile/smartphone was found in Spain, at 93pc.

With an average of 79pc of citizens across the EU using their mobile phone to access the internet, Ireland was considerably ahead of the EU average, with 84pc of people here using their phone to access the internet in 2016.

Irish Independent

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