by Elaine Loughlin and Joe Leogue
Ireland’s shockingly slow broadband speeds have been shown to be among the slowest in Europe. Business organisations have called on Government to step-up to provide proper high-speed broadband, otherwise jobs could be lost, they warned.
Ireland falls behind 25 other European states, 21 of which are in the EU, with Estonia, Jersey, Slovakia and Slovenia among the many countries and regions all providing better services.
Analysis of over 63m broadband speed tests worldwide revealed Ireland is 36th worldwide, with an average speed of 13.92Mbps.
ISME and Ibec said it is now critical that Ireland does not lag behind its competitors when it comes to infrastructure investment and the cost of doing business. ISME CEO Neil McDonnell said a lack of high-speed broadband is one of the key issues small businesses have, with some still relying on dial-up systems.
“SMEs in rural areas in particular, along the border areas and in Munster, are constantly in contact with us about the issue. The frustration for us is that we understood that the National Broadband Plan was going to be advanced at a certain rate, but it is not,” he said.
Communications Minister Denis Naughten, charged with the National Broadband Plan, recently claimed when he entered office last year, only 52% of premises in Ireland had access to high-speed broadband. It has since risen to 61% and, in the next 76 weeks, over 77% of premises will have improved access it is projected.
In April, Mr Naughten signed an agreement with Eir that commits it to deliver fibre high-speed broadband to one house every minute of every working day over a 90-week timeline.
The latest statistics show Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, and Poland were the only EU members to fare worse than Ireland.
An Ibec spokesman said: “We need Government to step up delivery of the National Broadband Plan, giving all premises across the country access to broadband speeds of a minimum of 30mps. In the short-term, Government can facilitate commercial roll-out of high speed broadband and improved mobile coverage by removing costs and delays caused by onerous administrative and planning processes.
“The industry continues to work with the government taskforce on mobile and broadband to reduce the barriers to rolling out high-speed broadband.”
The five fastest countries worldwide have download speeds around 40 times faster than the five slowest. Singapore tops the table at 55.13Mbps, compared to Yemen, which is more than 162 times slower at just 0.34Mbps. Based on the findings, downloading an HD movie of 7.5GB in size would take 18 minutes and 34 seconds at the average speed experienced in Singapore, compared to two days in last-placed Yemen.
Some 20 of the top 30 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe, with seven in Asia, two in North America and one in Oceania.
By contrast, 17 of the 30 slowest-performing countries are in Africa, with seven in Asia, six in South America and one in Oceania.
A total of 139 countries failed to achieve average speeds above 10Mbps, a speed deemed by UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business.
The data was collected across the year up to May 10 this year by M-Lab, a partnership between New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research, Princeton University’s PlanetLab, and other supporting partners, and was compiled by UK broadband comparison site www.Cable.co.uk.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner