14.8% unemployment, youth emigration. The drop was only a few thousand lines, which could be explained by the 10,000 or so Irish who emigrated during the quarter. Ireland had long been a broadband backwater, as (closely involved) governments protected Eircom’s near monopoly and high prices. After years of stock manipulation and underinvestment, Eircom finally couldn’t pay their debt and went broke. UPC cable has doubled their market share to over 20%, as slow DSL wasn’t enough to compete.
Eircom is now emerging from bankruptcy with Blackstone as largest shareholder. About $2B in debt was wiped out. They are about to fire 1,000 workers but have promised to invest in upgrade both DSL and wireless networks. Ireland has beautiful countryside but the bulk of the population is just a few cities. If Blackstone wants to hold on to customers, they will likely soon propose a VDSL/fiber build; with vectoring, that could quickly bring 50-100 megabits to half or more of the homes.
Here’s the latest government data.
ComReg Quarterly Report shows broadband speeds increasing while broadband supscriptions steady
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) today released its Quarterly Report on the Irish telecommunications market for the period 1st January to 31st March 2012 (Q1 2012).
Total quarterly electronic communications revenues (€930 million) declined from the previous quarter (-2.7%) driven primarily by a fall in mobile sector revenues.
Total voice traffic (fixed and mobile) declined by 1.1% to approximately 4.34 billion voice minutes this quarter. Mobile voice traffic was down by 0.7% while fixed voice traffic was down by 1.8%.
Although broadband subscriptions (1,666,429) rose marginally by 0.1%, internet subscriptions (1,687,083) decreased marginally this quarter by 0.1%. A rise in cable (+6.1%) and fibre/satellite (+8.2%) subscriptions did not offset falls in DSL (-0.3%), FWA (-2.6%), dedicated mobile broadband (-1.8%) and narrowband subscriptions (-15.1%).
The fixed broadband per capita penetration rate reached 23.6%. The total broadband per capita penetration rate (including mobile broadband) was 36.3%.
Consumer adoption of higher (advertised) broadband speeds continued, with 19.1% of all broadband subscriptions now in the >=10Mbps category compared to 10.7% one year previously. The highest proportion of customers in the >=10Mbps category are using cable broadband.
Mobile subscriptions (including mobile broadband) stood at 5,521,348, up from 5,499,790 in the previous quarter.
It is estimated that approximately 79% of TV homes in Ireland received a digital TV service by May 2012. Approximately 7% of Irish TV homes had an Irish DTT service as of May 2012.
The full report (ComReg document 12/62) is available on the ComReg website www.comreg.ie and data sets can be downloaded from www.comstat.ie
PR14062012 Page 2 of 2
Tom Butler, Public Affairs Manager, ComReg
Phone: 01 804 9639
Mobile: 087 2536358