Broadband: Republic lag behind Northern Ireland

Interesting report from Daily Ireland on broadband access north and south of the border. Northern Ireland has only recently hit the 100% mark whilst the Republic lags at 60%. It also reports that the small town of Carrigtwohill, which is little more than 10 miles from the centre of Cork City is still without broadband access.

  • Donnie

    This is pretty pish poor in my opinion, as many of the big telecoms players in less developed nations e.g. Reliance in India, are spending billions increasing broadband density.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I’m honestly a bit worried that a paper based in Belfast wants to see the South erode one of the competitive advantages NI has over them.

  • foreign correspondent

    The Republic definitely needs to get up to speed on broadband access then, it seems. It is something that is of critical importance nowadays.

    Re Beano’s comment- I’m not a businessman but in general I would think that the Republic has a competitive edge over N.I. no?
    It has lower corporate tax, and is in the euro-zone, for example.

  • maca

    They’ve been fighting about net access in Ireland for years. It’s getting better, and hopefully will soon be on par with other well developed countries.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    FC it does seem to (although I’m not sure why). I’m talking about one specific advantage though, ie broadband penetration. The Republic seems to benefit a lot in terms of foreign investment. We have our share too just not as much, and I would assume that part of the argument for choosing NI over the Rep. would be this factor?

    Assuming the above to be true, why would a Belfast/Londonderry based paper want Belfast to lose out to Dublin/Cork/Galway – cities which already have an overall advantage?

  • George

    In defence of Cork,
    last month it became the first city in Europe which has complete wireless access with surfers able to roam the entire city without losing the signal.

    Daily Ireland is on sale all over the country and like many things doesn’t stop at the border so it isn’t NI-centric.

    Also, as 25% of Northern Ireland’s exports go south, it is in NI’s interest that the Republic remains competitive and successful. 50,000 also work here.

    If the Irish Republic is lagging behind NI in some area, this doesn’t mean investors will pick NI ahead of the Republic because of it.

    Northern Ireland has to be an attractive place in its own right. There are many places with 100% broadband and no investment.

  • foreign correspondent

    I haven’t seen Daily Ireland yet, but I do hear it would not exactly have a partitionist philosophy 🙂 ; so I’m sure they just would not be thinking along the same North v. South lines as Beano.
    As far as I’m concerned t’s great that there’s such good broadband cover in N.I. It would also be great to have the same in the rest of Ireland, I would have thought.

  • PS

    How recently did the north reach 100% coverage? We tried to install broadband just before Christmas but despite BT’s initial assurances, broadband hadn’t reached us yet.

  • marty


    whereabouts are you in NI? BT have a wireless broadband service (same price as fixed line BB) that is slowly being rolled out across rural areas. You’d need to give BTNI a ring though to find out availability.


  • marty

    my preview never contains as much white space as when it’s posted.

  • foreign correspondent

    As a matter of interest, how much does broadband cost, in both N.I. and R.O.I?
    Where I am (Spain), the cheapest deals are about forty euro a month, I think

  • Donnie

    Generally the local loop between your house and the exchange should be under 6km although 0-4km workds best due to line loss on the copper.

    BT do indeed offer a fixed wireless network to rural areas although I am sure this will be limited to 512kbps.

    Foreign correspondent I think broadband here is around £15.99-£20.99 per month for a 1mbps connection speed.

  • marty

    yes, it’s 512kbps for the wireless but the contention rate is v. good as typically only one or two customers are using each access point.

  • Donnie

    This is true marty as you’ll never achieve 1mbps transfer rate due to the number of users on the exchange. Less rural users will be accessing each wireless node than a copper exchange and therefore will be able to achieve a greater proportional transfer rate.

  • Damien Mulley

    Hmmm. Some minor inaccuracies in that report, as well as spelling errors. I’d stand by what I said though. 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:

    PDF document link

    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.


  • Alan2

    “It has lower corporate tax, and is in the euro-zone, for example.”

    Erm NI and the UK ARE in the Euro zone just not in the Euro single currency which is why shoppers are all coming to the North to buy things because everything is cheaper here (except petrol).

    Also BT should be upping broadband speeds for everyone to 2mbps very shortly and then 8mbps in a short space of time (or the best available according to your line distance and quality from the exchange)

  • cladycowboy

    Broadband? Only just discovered Thatcherism

  • Conor

    Man northern ireland doesnt have 100% broadband. I’ve been waiting for years for broadband and i still cant get it. 100% my ass!

  • Conor

    Man northern ireland doesnt have 100% broadband. I’ve been waiting for years for broadband and i still cant get it. 100% my ass! Maybe 99.99999998% but not 100%.

    Sorry im pissed off waiting

  • Shane

    From reading these postings there seems to be quite a few people not able to get broadband in N.I. All the exchanges have been enabled since the start of the year, but those living too far out are still excluded. I have tried lots of times to get an answer from BT on when/how this wireless network is to be rolled out but usually they do not know what I am talking about – anyone here know of anything?

  • Donnie

    Shane, contact BT. I’m sure yours is a rare case.

  • Donnie

    Sorry forgot this link – BT Broadband availability in NI

  • Donnie
  • Shane

    Thanks for the link but I have been all round BT’s web-site. If I put in my telephone number to see if I can get broadband all I get is this…

    Your exchange has ADSL broadband.

    However, despite an engineer’s visit to your premises it has been proved not possible for your telephone line to support broadband service. Please accept our apologies. We are continuing to look for alternative technology solutions and this site will be updated with developments as they happen.

    Thank you for your interest.

    I know that there is supposed to be 100% coverage by the end of this year, just trying to find out is this likely to be next week or 31st December.
    I had emailed BT Business services on 3 occasions and they forwarded on to residential – still no word. If BT departments can’t even talk to each other ….

    Anyway, thanks once again for the link but I just don’t think I will get an answer – never mind broadband 🙁

  • Donnie

    Move closer to civilisation redneck 🙂

    Out of interest where do you live?

  • Shane

    Moving is not really an option. I live near Magheramorne – midway between Whitehead and Larne, right between the two exchanges. Things are that bad that I can’t even get ISDN 🙁

  • Young Fogey

    Daily Ireland is on sale all over the country and like many things doesn’t stop at the border so it isn’t NI-centric.

    It’s sales are certainly NI centric.

  • Dunluce

    The key to broadband is not just last mile access the bit that joins your house to the exchange. It is the backhaul, the bit that connects the exchange to internet proper. Belfast is one of the few cities in the UK that has Tier 1 internet access.

    It will become increasingly important for FDI in the future and it is a decisive competitive advantage for Northern Ireland in the future. Watch Citicorp!

    The South suffers because of a lack of investment in the copper infrastructure during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and Eircom’s monopoly position on the infrastructure.

    Wireless broadband has been around for years in European cities, including Belfast. Only 11% of exports go to the South whilst 60% go to GB.