Comreg – utterly deluded or something more sinister?

IrelandOffline today read with great bemusement the figures that have emanated from Comeg Towers(1). We note with utter hilarity the lack of basic mathematical skills displayed.

Eamonn Wallace,Chairman of IrelandOffline commented “A headline rate of 65% household broadband penetration would put us way, way above countries with proper infrastructure like Korea or Switzerland, plainly this is fantastical.(3) Figure 3.4.2.”

Wallace commenting on the figures: “However the document actually contradicts this: The fixed broadband per capita penetration rate was given as 24.4% in  Q2 2013”(3) Figure 3.4.1  These figures are  based on a population base of 4,598,600 from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data. The CSO actually stated that we had a population of 4,593,100 in April 2013.(4) What sort of “regulator” cannot even copy and paste properly? ”

The document also notes : “The broadband per capita penetration rate (including mobile broadband) was 36.2%.and yet the household penetration is 65%(3) Figure 3.4.2.” This implies that 24.4% of Internet is Fixed and 40.1% is Mobile if we are to arrive at 65% (allowing 1% for Dialup and Satellite Internet connections we will reduce that to 39%)

Wallace continued “ 39% vs 24.4% means that there are 50% more mobile broadband users than there are fixed broadband users. Except that there aren’t.”

Comreg inform us for the first time that 340,000 ‘Mobile Broadband Users’ are actually MACHINES ( typically alarm systems ) and not people at all. So lets have a look at those numbers properly. (3) Figure 3.1.1.

Fixed Telephone Users 741,256 (3) Figure 3.1.1.

Fixed Cable Users  324,019 (3) Figure 3.1.1.

Total Fixed Internet Subscriptions 975,274.( home and business users)

Mobile subscriptions (prepaid subs and postpaid subs) 524,0395(3) Figure 3.1.1.

So mobile broadband subscriptions are in fact smaller than fixed subscriptions not substantially larger. Regulators are not allowed to count multifunction devices like phones with 3g data, only dongles and modems. Those are the EU rules.

Wallace went on : “At this stage the dogs in the street and indeed every journalist who ever had to file copy back to their editor from off site all equally know that  mobile “broadband” cannot be relied on to give you any particular speed or even a connection when required.  Attempting to bulk up connection figures by adding this to the fixed figures to give a headline penetration rate is farcical, mobile is fine for what it is but it is NOT a replacement for proper broadband.”

Wallace continued : “So in effect we have no idea where this fantasy figure has come from…mainly because we can do basic calculations.  There must be an ulterior motive for making up a fantasy figure like this. Perhaps government needs a statistical dig out to justify his new broadcasting tax. The chances of downloading any tv program on mobile broadband are almost impossible. Not Netflix nor the RTE Player.“

Irelandoffline also note the constant attention ComReg draws to broadband speeds. ComReg  continue a  practice of quoting ‘contracted speeds’ rather than actual speeds making  their reports  utterly meaningless (as are the wrong population figures)

ComReg is now entering the third year since it started its broadband speed measurement program and no data has been produced.  We call on ComReg to confirm if this program is still active and to deliver some credible data rather than inventing nonsense. ” We DO know that the EU is carrying out these tests and that they released the results in time for this report.(5)(6) But Comreg refused to use the EU data. Not surprising as it shows the fifth lowest download speeds in the EU at peak (6) Figure.2-­‐4: ACTUAL  Download Speed

Wallace went on:”While Comreg claim they are 24Mbits in their statistics they are actually on the same 1Mbit they had years ago. We would ask ComReg to deliver on their promise to collect and publish actual user data rather than retailing the fantasies of advertising executives. We really wish that Comreg could buy a Krusty the Clown costume and dress in it when they release these quarterly figures, it would only be fair.

According to the figures Comreg supplied to the OECD we are now at a penetration rate of 22.6%(2), this is the stark reality as experienced every day by 100s of thousands of subscribers around the state.

Wallace also noted : ”By this properly verified figure we still stand at 29th in the OECD table which is pretty much the same lofty position we have held for many years i.e. squarely at the bottom of the real table and not some imaginary and fictional table”.

When Comreg stop massaging the figures to “make us look good” they may be taken seriously until then Comreg figures are about as reliable as annual reports from Anglo. Comreg have never ever, not once measured consumer broadband speeds/latency/peak hour congestion and continue to allow the telecommunications companies to pillage consumer wallets the length and breadth of the country. The only solution to this utter nonsense is the abolition of this weird and bizarre “regulator” that couldn’t regulate it’s way out of a wet paper bag.

We clearly show the real situation on our website : Comreg simply do not want the true situation to be available to the consumers of Ireland.


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