Irish towns to get broadband to rival Tokyo

Some of the towns with the slowest broadband speeds in Ireland will soon have connectivity to rival international hubs such Tokyo and Hong Kong, according to the company installing fibre optic cable in rural areas.

The promise of lightning speeds within little over a year comes from SIRO, which describes itself as “Ireland’s largest fibre-to-the-building operator”, in the wake of a new study that has found broadband speeds can be up to 36 times slower in some parts of the country compared to others.

Speed test data collected by Switcher.ie found that the county with the slowest connectivity is Longford, while fastest speeds are in Dublin. The Government’s National Broadband Plan is trying to address the problem and so too is SIRO, a joint venture between Vodafone and the ESB that uses the electricity network to delivered fibre optic broadband to the door.

The Switcher survey of almost 70,000 customers found the slowest area for broadband is Legan in Longford, which has an average download speed of under two Mbps.

In comparison, Drimnagh in Dublin is the area with the fastest, at 72 Mbps on average.

Ciaran Barrett, head of consumer fixed at Vodafone Ireland, said: “The Switcher.ie data on broadband speeds across the country highlight the need for equality of access to high-speed fibre broadband no matter where consumers are located.

“Vodafone LightSpeed Broadband, powered by SIRO, is already delivering 1 Gigabit speeds to many of the towns included in the Switcher.ie research, and we look forward to extending that reach in the coming months.”

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten yesterday defended the Government’s National Broadband plan, saying it will change the rural/urban broadband divide. Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the rollout will begin in 2018 and the vast majority of households will have fast speed broadband by the end of 2020.

However, he warned that “there are some isolated communities, isolated premises” where it will take a little longer to deliver.

Many broadband users are already feeling isolated, with a study by Vodafone revealing that more than one-third of rural Irish businesses would consider relocating to a bigger town just to get higher speed broadband that meets their requirements.

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