Monday, June 18 11:48:32
Ireland ranks fifth in the EU for mobile broadband but lags well behind the European average when it comes to fixed line high speed broadband, latest figures show.
Ireland now has above average mobile broadband penetration at 60pc for all active users, which means Ireland ranks fifth in the EU.
The new figures are part of the annual digital agenda scoreboard, the European Commission published today.
While the news is good for mobile broadband, there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the ordinary land line.
The growth in fixed broadband penetration is slowing down leaving the penetration (24.3pc) below the EU average (Ireland ranks 17 out of 27).
DSL remains the most common broadband technology but the share of non-DSL broadband lines has increased with most of the growth coming from cable broadband. One reason for that is the price for the so-called "local loop" - the copper wire that connects the households with the local exchange. It's owned by the local telephone company and competitors have to rent this wire. The prices they have to pay for that are still among the highest in the EU.
A positive side effect of the economic challenges Ireland is facing is the fact that the country is now leading the EU in the field of eGovernment. Making more public services available online is seen as a means to help maintain quality and underlines the valuable role of eGovernment in successful structural reform.
The most significant trends in the EU's information and communications technologies (ICT) sector are greater data consumption and a shift to mobile technologies (such as smartphones) and mobile services, which now account for 8 million jobs and 6pc of EU GDP. However, although there is strong digital demand in Europe, this potential is undermined by failure to supply enough fast internet, online content, research and relevant skills.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "Europeans are hungry for digital technologies and more digital choices, but governments and industry are not keeping up with them. This attachment to 20th century policy mindsets and business models is hurting Europe's economy. It's a terrible shame. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by under-investing. Europe will be flattened by its global competitors if we continue to be complacent."