eircom, Ireland’s dominant telecoms company, says it has signed up its 200,000th broadband customer and claims it is on target to record half a million high speed internet subscribers by the end of 2007. eircom launched ADSL services on a commercial basis to both residential and business customers in 2002, involving a total investment of EUR125 million over five years, most of which was spent in the first 24 months. ‘There is real momentum in the Irish broadband market,’ David McRedmond, eircom’s commercial director, told ElectricNews. ‘It took eighteen months to reach the first milestone of 100,000 broadband connections by December 2004, but it’s only taken twelve months to add the second 100,000.’
However, lobby group Ireland Offline says the country still lags someway behind its neighbours. ‘Being proud of 200,000 connections is bring proud of being second last in Europe for broadband, that’s where we stand,’ the group said in a statement. ‘To be on a par with the EU we need to have 400,000 connections today and 600,000 connections next Christmas. Nothing short of that should bring about pride. It’s shameful.’ Currently around 75% of telephone lines in Ireland are broadband enabled but eircom says that the figure will rise to 90% by March 2006.