I’ve noticed a few postings in the BoggerSphere about broadband. Maura is talking about the Group Broadband Scheme in Galway and Liam is talking about the Upperchurch-Drombane GBS. Applications have to be in very soon for this.
According to our own research in IrelandOffline, some 48% of the population still can’t get Broadband. Ireland has a lot of work to do if it wants Broadband for All.
Here are my comments on Broadband that I posted on Slugger O’Toole last week:
” It is that bad in the Republic and it will soon become a factor for large companies coming in. Consumers right now are the ones suffering the most but the more big business relies on telecoms the more Ireland will be less attractive despite the low corporate tax.
It can be argued that with the cost of leased lines in Ireland being so high even for cities *, companies that want proper high speed net connectivity (and we’re not talking adsl) will look at NI, EU countries or further away. It can also be argued because of the cost units being in 5km chunks, rural communities will not have a chance of getting business unless they are on a fibre ring. Ebay refusing to set up anywhere but Dublin is a good example of this.
EBay setting up in Dublin means though that they either have to pay larger wages to keep good staff or pay poor wages which will mean a churn rate for staff. Setting up in a rural location would have been better as it seems the best call centres are those not in the main cities in Ireland where the cost of living is cheaper facilitating a smaller churn rate.
Think about teleworking, more and more companies encourage this and it saves them money by having people working from home. But they can only telework from locations that have broadband. DSL is only available in towns of 1500 population or more. (according to eircom) That’s only 58% of the population though. (according to the CSO) So again large business is restricted to where they can set up.
But with 70%-80% of that 58% pass the line test, it means between 41%-46% of the population could actually work from home. This restricts companies to locations which have adsl or else forces them to install leased lines which cost a fortune. The Govt saying broadband is available everywhere is bollox and a major disservice to the 1000s of people who want broadband and are being turned down. There are 140k broadband connections in Ireland. 130k of them are adsl lines. 10K non adsl and most of them are in the main urban centres anyway. I would think 1500 people or less in rural locations have broadband through various community schemes.
Now if a company pays for teleworking the line rental being the highest in the EU** will add even more to a companies costs compared to other places in the EU.
However if we compare to Northern Ireland where there’s 100% availability (as of Feb 2005), teleworking is an easy option and line rental is cheaper. Leased line prices are cheaper too according to the graphs in the pdf doc below.
One other thing about the wireless network in Cork and it being a European first. It covers the immediate city centre, not the city. It’s free now but will cost something like €10 an hour when they do start charging. Northern Ireland will have 100% geographic coverage by Dec 2005 via a wireless network. That’s far more impressive.
* The price comparisons are taken from an EU doc which you can get there:
Details on page 41-43
They show the current leased line prices in Ireland for Partial Private Circuits (the bits going to the customer to their isp backbone ) The prices are measured in kms. For a business operating in a rural location distance from their ISP’s backbone means really high costs.