In Depth Harvard University Survey Damns Ireland

In Depth Harvard University Survey Damns Ireland

The prestigious Berkman Centre for Internet and Society in Harvard University1 was commissioned by the US Telecoms Regulator the FCC to carry out an in depth survey of Internet connectivity in 30 OECD countries, published on the 13th of October. Yet again this report shows that we are stuck in less than broadband mediocrity.

This is a very thorough report. We in Ireland Offline are particularly agitated by the table on page 58 and titled Table 3.4. Country rankings on various speed measures 3 and based on real life user speed. Measurements in those countries excluding Mobile, as this is excluded by the OECD. The data in this table focuses entirely on measuring the performance of technologies that are capable of delivering a consistent and fast user experience, such as ADSL and Cable Broadband and of course Fibre.

Of the 30 OECD countries4 Ireland came 27th out of 30. This time Greece came out ahead of us and only Poland Turkey and Mexico, among the “developed” nations, came out behind us.

Were the Berkman centre to include the sub standard Midband Mobile technologies that so obsess our policy makers in its overall speed measurements we could well have come in the bottom two. Thankfully the OECD standard excludes Mobile.

On the 13th of October, Minister Eamon Ryan stood over his lack of policy in the Dáil. Answering questions arising from a recent Ireland Offline press release5, Minister Ryan glibly told us that6

Dublin is ranked at 87, from a Broadband Quality Score perspective, of more than 240 cities surveyed bringing it within the top 100 cities in the 66 countries surveyed and is classified as meeting the needs of today’s applications.”

Sadly Minister Ryan has deliberately missed the point as he seems to so often do. We pay lip-service to the knowledge economy, however without some positive action on the subject we will never achieve anything more than just another glib “sound bite”.

Dublin is behind almost every capital city in the EU at this point and is rapidly heading for last spot next year, all on Minister Ryan’s watch. All those other capital cities are installing super fast fibre right now. Nothing constructive is being done in Ireland to address these access deficits. Finland have made broadband a basic right to all it’s citizens, it is incumbent on all those that espouse the knowledge economy to implement similar policies in this country. There is nothing green or smart about a communications policy mix that can barely keep us ahead of Turkey or Mexico and that only when your favourite technology, mobile, is excluded.

Please stop consulting and start laying the fibre in the state now Minister!

1) http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/
2) http://www.fcc.gov/stage/pdf/Berkman_Center_Broadband_Study_13Oct09.pdf
3) http://www.fcc.gov/stage/pdf/Berkman_Center_Broadband_Study_13Oct09.pdf page 58 of 232.
4) http://www.oecd.org/countrieslist/0,3351,en_33873108_33844430_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
5) http://irelandoffline.org/2009/10/international-broadband-quality-survey-blasts-dublin/
6) http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2009-10-13.241.0&s=Broadband+Quality+Score#g243.0.r

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1 Response

  1. kodi says:

    Just read all of these reports. Unfortunately there are based on speedtest.net results. That’s why i.e. Poland is behind the Ireland. I came from Poland and have a little different experience. I was living in a 400 thousand city. City itself has a DWDM ring which covers most of it and few year ago was expanded to cover neighbouring two cities. Lots of local providers are given access to this ring, so building disctrict/metropolitan networks is pretty easy. I was participating in one of the first commercial 1Gbit connection (capped at 100Mbits then) to one of the local networks. And the year was 2001. Yep – eight years ago. Current situation in Poland is as follows – even smaller towns have fiber connections. Lately local authorities started to encourage laying fiber cables along new roads. When you applying for planning permission, there is a question “how the broadband will be connected to this house?”.
    The dearest telecom broadband DSL offer is 45E/month for 24Mbits. Cable offer speeds up to 120Mbits for the same price. LANs are different – usually you are getting full speed of the adapter in one LAN (which can spread to several square kilometers) and speeds outside of the LAN varies from 1Mbit to 1Gbit (depends on contract). Of course – wireless connection are existing as well (speeds from 512kbit to few megabits). 3G is much less popular than here.

    And one more important thing – I just got a fiber connection in Poland. Paying 50E/month for it (100Mbit). No download/upload limits. And it works at this speed – even using speedtest.net server in London I’m getting like 56-60Mbit/s. Here in Ireland I have fastest broadband available for me which is BT broadband option 3. I’m paying 56E/month getting connection speed 6Mbit/s. There is traffic shaping implemented which cuts down single session (FTP for example) to 900kbit/s. And “No limit” means 75GB/month (after which you are shaped down to the breathtaking 128kbit/s). I had dispute about this with BT which ended in conclusion that service is not cut off, just merely restricted to not influence other users (????). I will not mention 4 months of disconnected broadband. And all of that when I was living 5 meters from local MAN, to which 4 customers are connected.

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