Remember that? Probably not. Way back in January 2006 the Government decided to have a consultation about how to stimulate demand for broadband in Ireland. They got a lot of reponses, nearly all of which (except eircom and Forfas) said the biggest issue was supply not demand. A report was written as a result of all the feedback on methods to increase usage of broadband in Ireland. It appeared to have just been buried. Well until now. Broadband Demand conclusions come on down!
Photo owned by johnthescone (cc)
I sent in the following Freedom of Information request in January of this year:
A digital copy of all consultation responses, drafts and the final version of the Broadband Demand Report. I believe this report/consultation happened around January 2006
Last week the Department of Communications uploaded the digital versions of the documents I received to their website. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
It’s all rather boring really until you get to the report that was generated from all the suggestions. The FOI request showed me the three versions of the final report which itself was not made public. Amazing to see how the civil service works and watching as the initial draft get severely butchered as it probably went up the chain of command and became rather tame. Part 6. A 19 page document got turned into a 16 page document and then got turned into a 12 page document (Page 81)and on the way suggestions from the Department were removed. But even with that final report, it never actually got published after all the people sending in their views and it all being sifted through. What a horrible waste.
The overall conclusion of this report was: Stimulating demand is not a concern at present and it’s still not.
Where did the Murphy’s go?
The draft versions of the report on the conclusions saw the report split into two parts, stimulating demand and tackling availability/infrastructure issues. In the cleaned report (page 81) they turn from “suggestions” into “summaries”. It is obvious in the drafts that the Department have come up with their own constructive suggestions on demand and availability but further along the line they seemed to have been disappeared. Shame. But it at least shows that like every org they are some great minds and constructive suggestions being worked on but politics comes into play.
BT Ireland and eircom had massively different data on line failure rates which was mentioned in one draft:
BT in their submission, claim that up to 62% of FRIACO lines they surveyed (a sample of 4,300) failed the line test for broadband. Eircom state the figure is 10%. The truth is probably somewhere in between and it would prove a worthy exercise for the Department to ascertain the real truth, if only to counter the spin Eircom put on the figures in the national media.
The clean report turns this into:
BT reported that a high share of FRIACO lines failed the line test for broadband. However, in relation to coverage issue, Eircom stated that by “March 2006, 85%+ of telephone customers will be connected to DSL enabled exchanges”
Nowhere does it mention that this is just fiddling with numbers but it is warned about in the two drafts:
The wording of this is very careful. They are not saying that 85% of customers can get DSL, they are saying 85% of customer lines are attached to a DSL enabled exchange. This brings the numbers of the population down from the 67% of the country who have a land line, down to 56.95% who have a landline attached to an exchange.
Eircom claim there is only a 10% failure rate on lines, which brings to sum down to 51.26% of the population who have a land line, attached to an enabled exchange, with no failure problems. … and is assuming you accept Eircom’s word
And the Murphys:
A suggestion was made to pick out the first 100 Murphys in each area code and put their number into the eircom line checker and see what the %s would be. It never made it into the “clean” report. Neither did lots of other very good suggestions probably because it would have added more reality to the situation the Department had been preaching up until then.
There are dozens of other great suggestions in those draft reports. They’re worth checking out. I still think the Murphy’s idea is great and maybe someone should try it out and see what the line failure rates are.