June 13, 2013

High speed internet connection

IRELAND IS generally below EU averages on broadband speeds, according to the body responsible for providing statistical information to EU member states.

The Eurostat study into the broadband market in Ireland found the country has a relatively low take-up of fixed broadband but a better than average share of high speed connections (at least 30 Mbps). Ireland scores much better than the EU average in mobile broadband rates.

Standard fixed broadband covered 97.1 per cent of homes in Ireland in 2012, compared with the EU average of 95.5 per cent. At the same time, Next Generation Access capable of providing at least 30 Mbps download was available to 42.1 per cent of homes, compared to the EU average of 53.8 per cent.
In January 2013, the incumbent operator had a market share slightly below the European average (41.5 per cent compared to 42.3 per cent in the EU). Digital subscriber line (DSL) was the most common technology to provide broadband access, even though cable broadband connections accounted for a significant part of the market (27.2 per cent as opposed to 17.4 per cent in the EU).

The number of subscriptions, as a percentage of population, for fixed broadband was 24.6 per cent in January 2013, which fell below the European average of 28.8 per cent. However, the share of high speed connections (at least 30 Mbps) was higher than average (20.4 per cent compared to 14.8 per cent in the EU). Ultra-fast connections (at least 100 Mbps) accounted for just 1.4 per cent of all subscriptions (3.4 per cent in the EU).

In terms of mobile broadband, Eurostat found that third generation mobile broadband (HSPA) was available to 94.6 per cent of population in 2012 (96.3 per cent in the EU) and there was no 4th generation (LTE) availability. The take-up rate of mobile broadband was 78.1 per cent in January 2013, well above the average of 54.5 per cent in the EU.

Internet usage

The majority of the Irish population use the internet regularly, with 74 per cent of people using the internet at least once a week – which is up from 71 per cent in 2011, and above the EU average of 70 per cent. Frequent internet users (ie daily users) total 58 per cent of the population, up from 55 per cent in 2011 and above the EU average of 59 per cent.

The Eurostat study showed that the rate of people who have never used the internet has decreased since last year, from 21 per cent down to 18 per cent, which is below the EU average of 22 per cent.

The rate of regular internet usage amongst ‘disadvantaged’ people is 59 per cent,above the EU average of 54 per cent.

The most popular online activity cited by users in Ireland was accessing information and using online travel and accommodation services.

Some 63 per cent of individuals go online in order to find information about goods and services, a rate which is above but not far from the EU average of 62 per cent, and above last year’s rate of 53 per cent. People in Ireland largely make travel and accommodation arrangements online (above the EU average of 47 per cent). Among the least popular activities are selling goods and services online (13 per cent) and making telephone and video calls (29 per cent).

Computer skills

Ireland exhibits average rates compared to the rest of the European countries in terms of basic computer skills, with 65 per cent of citizens having some level of computer skills – close to the average for the EU of 67 per cent. In 2012, 31 per cent of the Irish people a high level of computer skills, up from 26 per cent in 2011 and above the EU average of 26 per cent.

Almost equally to the EU average, medium computer skilled people represent 23 per cent of the population, while 11 per cent of citizens have low computer skills, which is lower than the EU average of 16 per cent. The rate of people with low computer skills is practically unchanged since 2011.

In 2012 in Ireland, 8 per cent of enterprises recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialist, a figure in line with the EU average, and 52 per cent of them (4 per cent of firms) reported having difficulties recruiting such employees, well above the EU average of 40 per cent, making Ireland one of the countries experiencing the most difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists in the EU, along with Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands and Malta.

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