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Broadband is worse since pandemic started for one in four - ComReg report

 

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Families in particular now view reliable high-speed broadband as crucial to their everyday life

Families in particular now view reliable high-speed broadband as crucial to their everyday life

Families in particular now view reliable high-speed broadband as crucial to their everyday life

A quarter of Irish people say their broadband has become worse since the start of the pandemic, according to Comreg.

More than one in seven say their mobile signal has deteriorated since last March.

The figures, taken from a survey of 1,000 people, also show three-quarters of us now rely on home broadband far more than before the pandemic, with families particularly dependent on it to get through an ordinary day.

However, 13pc of Irish home broadband connections are not adequate for home working, Comreg says.

Streaming

The situation is particularly bad for those with mobile broadband services, where one in four say the connection is not good enough to use for home working.

Comreg's survey says just under three in five of us are working from home to some degree.

More than two in five now need broadband to video conference with work colleagues, while three in five use it to watch video streaming services.

Online shopping has almost doubled since April, with half of us now doing so, but video calling friends (down 5pc to 57pc) has declined, as has reading the news online (down 5pc to 58pc).

Voice calls on mobile phones have improved, with 14pc saying calls have improved since last March, compared with 10pc saying it has become worse.

Nearly three in five would spend more on broadband to get a better service.

This is much more likely to be the case for households with children (64pc) than those without (51pc).

Those under the age of 35 are also three times as likely to want faster broadband.

Overall, six out of 10 people say their broadband is about the same as at the start of the pandemic, with one in four saying it is worse and one in seven saying it is better.

Virgin Media said this week that its customers used 84pc more broadband data than they did last February.

Last week, the National Broadband Plan connected its first rural home under the €3bn scheme.

The first households and businesses to be connected to fibre broadband are in Cork and Cavan, through commercial operators such as Eir, Sky and Vodafone.

Homes in Limerick and Galway are to follow in the coming weeks, with 19,000 due by the end of April and 130,000 due by the end of the year.

National Broadband Ireland says it has operations under way in all 26 counties and expects the number of premises under construction to be in excess of 130,000 by the end of the year, with around 70,000 premises available for connection "at prices similar to those available in urban areas".

Cheaper

The new service will typically cost from €45 a month for a 500Mbs connection or from €55 for a 1,000Mbs connection.

This is cheaper than similar services in cities, most of which are limited to a single high-speed provider, Virgin Media. It charges €71 a month for a 500Mbs connection after an introductory six-month discount period.

Roll-out plans for other areas of the country can be checked at nbi.ie/rollout-plan.

However, a timeline for any acceleration in the roll-out remains unclear.

As it stands, it is not due to be completely finished before 2027.


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