Update: Broadband & Mobile Telephony in Ireland 18th July 2014

18th July 2014 - Bernard Durkan TD

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which comparisons continue to be made between the quality, scale, standard and availability of broadband and mobile telephony in this jurisdiction and that available in other EU and non-EU competing jurisdictions; if the upgrading required is adequately provided for; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 17th July, 2014.



Ref No:


To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the degree to which high speed broadband services are on target to bring the standard here up to the highest quality in terms of international best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 17th July, 2014.

Ref No: 32575/14


Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White T.D.)

I propose to take Questions Nos 438 and 443 together.

A comparison report, the “State of Broadband” published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in September 2013 ranks Ireland 35 th  of 183 countries for fixed line broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants; 19 th  of 170 countries for mobile broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants and 31 st  of 192 countries with 79% of the population accessing the internet using broadband.

The most recent OECD comparison report on retail fixed broadband speeds marketed, ranks Ireland 11 th  highest, equal with countries such as Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for the highest marketed download speed available of 100 Mbps in 2012. In the case of mobile broadband access, the OECD ranks Ireland 14 th  highest of the 34 countries surveyed.

These comparisons provide useful evidence of global trends in customer access to high speed broadband and mobile services. They do not however measure the proportion of the populations which can access the high speed services within the states compared.

The broadband market in Ireland has changed considerably since the last OECD survey. The highest market retail broadband speed offered by one service provider has increased from 100Mbps to 200Mbps in that period. Another service provider is rolling out a fibre based network passing 1.4m premises and offering speeds of up to 100mbps. This trend towards higher broadband speeds is expected to continue as service providers roll out new high speed services. The recent announcement of a joint venture between Vodafone and ESB to provide fibre-to-the-premises services passing 500,000 premises initially should further improve Ireland’s international ranking over time. I am confident therefore that Ireland will continue to improve its relative placing with those countries surveyed in the current OECD table. According to ComReg statistics, at the end March 2014, the proportion of all fixed broadband subscriptions equal to or greater than 10Mbps in Ireland increased from 32% to 57% in the last year. 38% of all such subscriptions were equal to or greater than 30Mbps up from 21% in the same period. In addition to fixed line services, mobile services providers are rolling out next generation 4G networks following ComReg’s multi-band spectrum auction in 2012.

The Government’s Statement of Priorities for the period 2014 to 2016 reaffirms our commitment to delivering a State-led broadband intervention in those areas the commercial market will not serve. The National Broadband Plan aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed broadband is available to all citizens and businesses.

This will be achieved using a State-led intervention in non-commercial areas to ensure the delivery of high speed broadband services to those parts of rural Ireland that will not be served by the commercial sector. I have commented in more detail on this market intervention today in responding to other questions on the National Broadband Plan

It is my intention to progress this project as a key priority. I believe that it will address current connectivity challenges in a sustainable and meaningful way and will ensure that rural Ireland can enjoy comparable levels of broadband quality and service as those experienced in urban areas.


Stay Up To Date With Fine Gael