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Data connectivity demand in Ireland is on the increase

… but there are challenges in making sure all of Ireland is better connected.

It comes as no surprise that for more and more of us the need to always be connected is increasingly important. A report from ComReg (Commission for Communications Regulation) last week has revealed that the increase in data demand on fixed and mobile networks has gone up by 37% and 60% respectively per annum.

Why is the demand for data increasing?

The report says these increases are largely due to our devices becoming more sophisticated, our use of more diverse applications that require data connectivity, the growing demand for streaming services, and commercial factors such as teleworking (remote working) and online selling. These demands are cause for improved updates to mobile connectivity across Ireland, particularly for those in rural areas.

What challenges are there to upgrading data connectivity in Ireland?

ComReg has identified some areas which may present challenges in upgrading and improving data connectivity in rural Ireland. One of which is that Ireland has one of the highest road networks per population, meaning it is more difficult to provide coverage on the road network. Other issues to consider include environmental barriers (eg. hills and trees that could disrupt signals), distance from site of where the signal originates, sparsity of houses, modern house insulation blocking signal and varying handset performance across different manufacturers.

What can done to ensure data connectivity keeps improving and evolving?

The report highlights that in order for data connectivity to be satisfactorily improved, existing resources and entities need to work together harmoniously. In addition to the completion of the National Broadband Plan rollout, the Irish Government has put together the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, that will support policy changes for fixed and mobile connectivity. similarly, suppliers can aid the improvement of connectivity services across Ireland by making sure features like Wi-Fi calling is available on devices and providing details on handset performance at point of sale. Whereas ComReg has identified action it can take such as providing information on mobile handset signal performance, introducing regulatory changes (eg. supporting the use of repeaters) and supporting new spectrum releases (such as 5G).

ComReg is hopeful that the combination of these actions and coordination of existing resources should result in all Irish households having access to fixed high speed broadband services in the coming years and aid in keeping up with the growing demand for high-speed mobile connectivity.

What can I do at home to improve connectivity?

ComReg urges consumers to consider things they can easily action themselves to help increase connectivity. People can look to use a handset with enhanced signal performance (your service provider should be able to answer any questions you have on this) and make the most of in-home WiFi calling where possible. The use of mobile repeaters has also been known to help improve the mobile user experience and connectivity performance.

How can I get stronger and faster broadband?

If strong broadband is something important to you, then be sure to run a speed test on your home broadband and check if you can get faster speeds by comparing different packages available to you in your area.

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How can I make sure I’m always connected on my mobile device?

For those who are looking to get better value on their mobile phone data connectivity, then perhaps a plan that caters to heavy data users might be useful to keep you connected at all times.

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