Broadband speed in slow lane
New data demonstrates parts of the country experience broadband speeds up to 36 times slower than others and reveals the country's broadband hot and not spots.
The data suggests that as few as a quarter of households could be receiving speeds of 30Mbps or more, the minimum target set out in the National Broadband Plan:
While there are some exceptions with much higher speeds, in County Wexford, we receive an average 14.20Mbps, less than half the minimum target, but compared to somewhere like Legan in Longford, with an average download speed of 1.98Mbps, we're flying it, with Wexford town achieving 16.2Mbps. By comparison with its country cousins, the fastest area is Drimnagh in Dublin, with an average of 72.15Mbps.
The hot spot: county-by-county data shows Dublin is the county with the fastest average broadband speed, at 44.85Mbps.
Longford is the slowest county, with an average broadband speed of 7.25Mbps, while of the 20 slowest areas, of which Wexford is one, four are in Cork, three are in Cavan, and there are two in Galway; 37 per cent of the total tests collected showed download speeds of less than 5Mbps, and the average speed across all speed tests taken in the period was 23.75Mbps. The speed test data collected by Switcher.ie, the independent price comparison website and switching service, is based on almost 27,000 consumer speed tests run by broadband users between 1 August 2015 and 31 July 2016.
In terms of county-by-county results, unsurprisingly Dublin has the highest average speed, followed by Waterford, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath. The National Broadband Plan sets out that, at a minimum, broadband with speeds of 30Mbps should be available to all. However, it's not all bad news, as there were 'lightning' speeds recorded, too. The highest speed out of all the tests was 989.15Mbps, which was recorded in Ballon in Carlow. This clearly demonstrates the progress that has been made so far in terms of quality broadband access, and the potential impact once the National Broadband Plan is rolled-out. Aside from the type of connection you have and where you live, there are a number of other factors that can affect the speeds you can achieve, for example distance from the exchange, where the router is placed within your home and even the time of day you use the internet. Whether or not you're connected directly to the router or using WiFi will also have an impact, as will the device you're using. Commenting on the findings, Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, said the results from the speed test data highlight the digital divide in Ireland. Earlier this month, SIRO, the ESB-Vodafone joint venture, announced that Carnsore Broadband had become its fourth retailer partner, the latest example of SIRO enabling regional providers to compete with national broadband retailers by powering them with its 1 Gigabit broadband network.