High-speed broadband generally refers to a connection that exceeds download speeds of 25Mbps. Forty-five per cent of Irish households now have broadband connections with speeds of 30Mbps or more, and the fastest broadband speed currently available in the country is 360Mbps.
Is there an official definition of 'high-speed'?
There is no firm definition for “high-speed broadband” in Ireland, but in 2015, the FCC (the American communications regulator) said that:
"A high speed broadband connection should have a minimum download speed of 25Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 3Mbps".
A 25Mbps connection is a high benchmark, but it is currently being achieved in many parts of Ireland. According to our own regulator ComReg, 45% of Irish households now have broadband connections with speeds of 30Mbps or more – which is well in excess of the 25Mbps threshold. That number is set to keep growing too.
Are broadband speeds going to increase?
Yes! eir has published plans to extend its fibre broadband coverage to 1.6 million homes and businesses across Ireland by the end of 2016. This will provide access to speeds of 100Mbps for FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections, and well in excess of that for FTTH (Fibre to the Home) connections.
In addition, ESB and Vodafone have announced a joint venture whereby they plan to run fibre optic cables alongside electricity cables which will provide FTTH connections for up to 500,000 premises by 2018. The new venture, which is called SIRO, promises speeds from 200Mbps to 1,000Mbps. That's 40 times faster than the current high speed broadband benchmark!
Virgin Media (formerly UPC), which has long been able to provide fibre broadband to Irish households, currently boasts top speeds of 360Mbps in most major urban areas of the country.