ForfÃ¡s* released a damning report on the state of broadband in Ireland on 30th November 2006. Remember, ForfÃ¡s is an Irish governmental agency operating under the auspices of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
The report is 34 pages in PDF format. Let me summarise some of the main findings for you:
The report found that:
In 2005, the European Commission estimated that DSL coverage in Ireland based on population stood at 72%, making it the second lowest of the EU-15 countries. Rural DSL availability was just 38% of the population
In this graph you can see the poor uptake of broadband in Ireland – Ireland (in green near the bottom) ranks 21st out of 24 EU countries surveyed, slightly ahead of Slovakia and Cyprus.
When you look at the quality of the broadband offerings in comparison to other countries, you can see how far behind Ireland is:
One of the principal reasons for this, according to the ForfÃ¡s report is the unbelievably slow rate of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) in Ireland as the incumbent telecom (Eircom) aided and abetted by its partner Comreg the does everything in its power to thwart any attempts to unbundle.
Check out the graph to see how far behind we are internationally in terms of LLU.
Noel Dempsey has been the minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources happily overseeing Ireland’s lack of broadband and all that this means for our competitiveness internationally.
Eircom’s desire to stop LLU, I can understand, but you have to wonder what are the motivations of Comreg and Noel Dempsey for perpetuating this state of affairs. They are supposed to be working in the interests of the Irish people. I can only guess what promises have been made to whom.
Ireland’s national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation