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Average cost of broadband in Ireland falls, according to new report

Average cost of broadband in Ireland falls, according to new report
Daragh Cassidy

Daragh Cassidy

Head Writer

New research shows that the average cost of broadband has fallen for Irish consumers though we're still paying more than most of our European neighbours. 

A new study today from Cable.co.uk has revealed that the average price of broadband in Ireland has fallen significantly compared to last year, although it still remains expensive when compared to both our neighbours in Europe and other countries worldwide. 

With an average price of €40 a month ($48.55) for a fixed-line broadband package, Ireland was 15th most expensive out of the 45 European countries and territories included in the study. However the cost of broadband has actually fallen by over 20% from an average price of €51.50 a month last year.

The study analysed data from 3,288 fixed-line broadband deals in 211 countries worldwide between 29 October and 9 December 2020 with 15 deals being measured in Ireland.    

The results in detail

Ukraine tops the rankings, where broadband is also relatively fast. The average package here costs just $6.41 a month or around €5. However that hasn't been cheap enough to tempt a lot of Ukrainians it seems as only half the population has internet access compared to over 80% in Ireland for example.

Perhaps surprisingly, war-torn Syria comes in second place, although the report notes that the low prices are largely due to the ongoing collapse of the Syrian Pound while the speeds available are relatively slow.

As in 2019, Eritrea in North East Africa is again the world's most expensive country to get a fixed-line broadband package, where it'll cost you a staggering $2,666.24 per month on average or just under €2,000. This is followed by Mauritania in North West Africa at just over $712 a month.

Within Western Europe, out of 29 nations studied, France comes out cheapest, with an average broadband cost of €26.50 per month, closely followed by Italy (€26.97) and Portugal (€27.45). The UK came in fourth cheapest (and 67th cheapest worldwide), with an average cost of £26 per month, or around €30. 

Ireland was pretty much middle of the table, coming in at 104th cheapest out of 211 countries and territories. However at €40 a month it's a big drop from €51.50 a month last year. The price of a broadband deal ranged from just over €24.54 a month to €73.50 - proof if ever that shopping around can help you save money!  

In North America, the United States offers the least expensive broadband, but it's not necessarily cheap at $59.99 a month. However it's still far cheaper than Canada where a package will set you back a hefty $76.14 on average.

If good quality, cheap broadband is your thing, then Sub-Saharan Africa is definitely the place to avoid. Of the 37 countries in the region that were included in the study, all but seven ended up in the the most expensive half of the table and 19 in the most expensive quarter! The expense according to the authors of the report largely comes down to the political climate in the region, warfare, extremely low take-up among consumers (meaning no economies of scale) and the fact that in most cases the price you pay will go in large part to actually building a physical line to your property since few already exist.

Unlike previous years, the price of broadband worldwide hasn't gone down compared to the previous year but has remained largely static. An exception to this of course has been Ireland. 

Speeds, however, continue to increase by around 20% each year, meaning although consumers aren't getting lower prices they're getting a better service.

Cost of broadband worldwide

Rank Country Cost per month
1 Ukraine $6.41
2 Syria $6.69
3 Russian Federation $7.50
4 Bhutan $8.71
5 Sri Lanka $9.58
6 Iran $9.60
7 Kazakhstan $9.76
8 Moldova $9.95
9 Belarus $10.11
10 Romania $10.59
67 United Kingdom $34.77
104 Ireland $48.55 (€40)
131 United States $59.99
211 Eritrea $2,666.24

Cost of broadband in Western Europe

Rank Country Cost per month local currency  Cost per month dollars 
1 France €26.50 $32.16
2 Italy €26.97 $32.73
3 Portugal €27.45 $33.31
4 United Kingdom £26.00 $34.78
5 Malta €29.32 $35.59
6 Greece €31.90 $38.72
7 Germany €34.16 $41.46
8 Spain €35.78 $43.43
9 Finland €35.90 $43.57
10 Austria €37.56 $45.59
15 Ireland €40.00 $48.55
17 The Netherlands €43.23 $52.47
19 Belgium €44.93 $54.53
24 Switzerland  CF61.58 $69.37
29 Jersey £72.71 $92.27

You can download the full data set, along with further insights, a detailed research methodology, and various graphics and interactive tools here.

Not just about cost

When it comes to broadband price is just one feature. Arguably, what’s more important is the speed. It’s all well and good having broadband that’s cheap as chips but if your connection is too slow, then is it even worth it?

Well thankfully the report takes this into account by calculating the cost of fixed-line broadband in each country per megabit per month to get a better gauge of value for money. 

On this metric Ireland fares a lot better, coming in at 41st best value worldwide, and 12th cheapest in Western Europe, and significantly ahead of the UK in 93rd place, meaning although the cost of our broadband is above average, the speeds on offer tend to be faster.

Rank Country Cost per Mbps
1 Romania $0.02
2 Macau $0.03
3 Saint Martin (France) $0.03
4 Poland $0.04
5 Réunion $0.04
6 Singapore $0.04
7 Hong Kong $0.05
8 Ukraine $0.05
9 Hungary $0.05
10 Russian Federation $0.10
41 Ireland $0.33 (€0.27)
93 United Kingdom $1.06
211 Eritrea $1,590.75

Commenting on the findings of the research internationally, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said:

For the first time since taking these yearly measurements, the average cost of a broadband package globally hasn't fallen. Whether or not this is related to the pandemic and other, destabilising global events is a matter for further study, however. We have also seen a substantial number of countries upgrading their infrastructure in the last 12 months, with available speeds of 1Gbps becoming increasingly common.

As in previous years, however, the countries with slow, patchy broadband infrastructure that supplies only a fraction of the population tend to be the most expensive, and their growth in terms of available speeds either slow or non-existent.

Not happy with the price of your broadband?

How does the cost of your broadband measure up in comparison? If you’re not satisfied, it might be time to shop around for a better deal.

You can compare and switch providers quickly and easily right here on bonkers.ie.  

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