Irish incumbent eircom’s share of its domestic broadband market has dipped below 50% for the first time, according to industry regulator ComReg. Data from the watchdog for the period July-September 2006 shows that 49% of the total 436,000 high speed internet subscribers use a DSL connection provided by eircom, whilst 24% use other DSL providers and 27% subscribe to competing technologies including cable, fibre-optic, fixed wireless and satellite access. The regulator also reported that 44% of all internet users in the country are on broadband, and that the broadband penetration rate stood at 10.3% at the end of September, up from around 9% at the end of June and 6.5% at the beginning of the year. Despite the growth, spokesperson for telecoms lobby group IrelandOffline, Damien Mulley, pointed out that in an international context ‘when it comes to broadband penetration…14 other countries who were already ahead of us in the OECD have moved even further ahead of us.’ TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database places Ireland at thirtieth in a global ranking of broadband penetrations at the end of June 2006, and second-to-last in a list of western European states, above only Greece.
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