A journalist asked for my thoughts on Internet Banking in Ireland from the perspective of broadband and broadband availability. Here are my thoughts:
1. Internet Penetration.
Internet penetration is going down in this country, not up. The latest figures from the ComReg quarterly report show this. Perhaps though if they push Internet banking more people will go online. Look how many non-technical people now know how to book flights online, thanks in part to Ryanair making people go online to book flights.
2. Broadband Availability
To go online nowadays and stay secure you have to continually upgrade your browser, your operating system and your anti-virus software. The Internet is more dangerous now than ever with worms and viruses becoming very prolific. To combat this we see vendors like Microsoft releasing security patches on a sometimes weekly basis and there are now daily updates for anti-virus scanners.
Being on dialup and trying to stay secure is an almost futile exercise these days. Security patches range in size from 2MB to a colossal 150MB for a service pack for Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Broadband is ideally needed to stay safe and secure if you want to go online. The online experience for dialup users has been deteriorating for the past few years and the rate of deterioration of quality is increasing.
Broadband however, is only available to less than half the population. Of the areas where broadband is available, 20-25% of the lines fail the dsl test due to various reasons. 45% of people can get broadband in Ireland right now, leaving 55% who have to suffer dialup to try and go banking.