The Flight to Cable Accelerates

IrelandOffline Quarterly Broadband Speed and Quality Survey Q1 2011

This is the fourth in the series of IrelandOffline quarterly survey, continuing from Q2 2011 when Ookla launched their invaluable Netindex Speed Test Site site. Between Q2 2010 and Q4 2010 the situation worsened dramatically to the extent that we in IrelandOffline commented in the Q4 2010 report that “Download speeds in Ireland are now less than HALF the EU Average which is 11.37mbits Upload speeds in Ireland are just over one third of the EU Average which is 2.82mbits Average Irish DOWNLOAD speeds have declined from 5.94mbits to 5.51mbits since May 2010.” This situation has thankfully reversed somewhat and download and upload speeds are increasing in this quarter..

Since our December survey the key EU Average Download Speed Measure has climbed to 12.39mbits from 11.37mbits…a sharp improvement of 0.98mbit in only 3 months.

For the VERY first time since we started this survey average Irish Download speeds have snapped out of reverse. Irish average download speeds increased by 0.97mbit from 5.51mbits in December 2010 to 6.48mbits today ending a period of absolute and relative decline. We even matched the increase across the EU generally.

Upload speeds are still dismal despite there being an upturn in the values.. Despite a less pronounced improvement to that particular metric Irish Upload speeds are now 79th in the world and we are improving this situation more slowly than our key competitors are. Irish Upload speeds are only ⅓ of the EU Average (1.14mbits versus 3.27mbits) .

Globally, Ireland is now:

55th for Download speeds SAME as 55th in December 2010 down from 51st for Download Speeds in September (down from 41st in May)
79th for Upload speeds down from 75th in December down from 70th in September (down from 63rd in May)
52nd for Quality up from 56th for Broadband Quality up from 59th for Broadband Quality in September (and up from 63rd in May)

However for the very first time our average download speeds have climbed to over half the EU average and improved at the same rate as EU speeds overall. Maybe that was because we had no ineffective Minister for Communications to interfere over most of the relevant quarter ?

The sharpest performance improvements occurred in medium sized towns where Cable Broadband is available and not in large population and employment centres Of the Top 10 towns in Ireland Waterford in 9th @ 8.96mbits and Dublin in 10th @ 8.63mbits are the only major ones. Galway Cork and Limerick are outside the top 10.

Average download speeds in the Top 10 Towns is now 10.5mbits with Lucan top on 15.7mbits.

Large towns with no Cable Broadband such as Drogheda with 3.97mbits and Bray with 3.85mbits all typically languish under 4mbits with Wexford, Tralee and Ennis behind them again.

The Average UPC cable broadband customer has a download speed of 14.7mbits today which is heading for 4 times the Average Eircom download speed of 4.4mbits. These values were 12.21mbits versus 4.01mbits in December 2010 and with UPC and eircom improving their performance by 20 % and 10% ( respectively) quarter on quarter.

Eircom continue to lose customers at the rate of c.20,000 per quarter due to the insanely high line rental charges. This is a situation that needs to be addressed urgently. This exorbitant line rental is utterly counterproductive and leading to a constant decline in customers together with a smaller cash pile for much needed investment.

Belgacom, a former shareholder in eircom, has invested in improving their ADSL infrastructure and their users now enjoy an average speed of 11.98mbits over the exact same kind of telephone line that eircom deploys which is nearly 3 times faster than what the average eircom user gets. In most developed countries the fastest operators deploy fibre to the home but there is very little of that in Ireland.

UPC operate as Unitymedia in Germany and as UPC in Holland. Their customers in those countries enjoy a vastly superior service to that of their Irish customers. In German the average Cable Broadband customer of Unitymedia enjoys 30.26mbits download vs 14.7mbits in Ireland. In Holland they average a 33.14mbits download speed.

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Notes

Download Speed http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/
Upload Speed http://www.netindex.com/upload/allcountries/
Broadband Quality http://www.netindex.com/quality/allcountries/
Broadband Towns ( scroll down) http://www.netindex.com/download/2,49/Ireland/
Belgium, Belgacom Skynet ADSL http://www.netindex.com/download/2,71/Belgium/
December press release http://irelandoffline.org/2010/12/irish-broadband-speeds-continue-their-decline/
September press release http://irelandoffline.org/2010/09/ireland%e2%80%99s-broadband-performance-deteriorates-alarmingly-over-the-summer/
May press release http://irelandoffline.org/2010/05/what-are-the-mongolians-doing-right/
Germany http://www.netindex.com/download/2,27/Germany/
Holland http://www.netindex.com/download/2,48/Netherlands/

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