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Fibre broadband signups surge 50pc as satellite services sag

Fibre broadband signups have surged more than 50pc in the last year, outstripping other internet options, according to new figures from Ireland’s telecoms regulator.

here are now 341,000 ‘real’ fibre broadband subscribers, made up of customers using newly-laid fibre-to-the-home lines from Eir, Siro and the National Broadband Plan.

However, only a tiny fraction are made up of the state-subsidised intervention scheme, as progress in rolling out the network continues to lag.

Fibre broadband is expected to overtake Virgin’s cable broadband (378,000 subscribers) early next year.

The biggest decrease in broadband technology is in satellite systems such as Elon Musk’s Starlink, down 34pc. There are now fewer than 2,000 satellite broadband subscribers in the country. The world’s richest man and Tesla founder may be hoping hoping that, despite Starlink’s €100-per-month cost and €500 up-front fee, there may yet be enough people stuck without affordable alternatives to pick his premium-priced service as Starlink begins to roll out more.

The second biggest drop is in ‘ordinary’ phone line DSL broadband, which is down 23pc to 156,000 subscribers.

Fixed wireless broadband saw a jump by 30pc to 77,000 subscriptions, driven by the funded rollout of Imagine in rural areas.

Mobile broadband, including ‘dongles’, also rose marginally by 8pc to 348,000 subscriptions.

The biggest single broadband technology remains VDSL (613,000), delivered over phone lines to homes that are within a short distance from a public telecoms box. However, this is down by 5pc, driven by customers becoming eligible for fibre broadband upgrades.

Meanwhile, 5G continues to struggle in Ireland, making up just 4pc of mobile subscriptions.

5G customers are not using the service for high data activities, with an average of less than 6GB per month from 5G customers, only marginally higher than 3G customers (4GB) and far lower than 4G subscribers (15GB).

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