Survey aims to assess Northern Ireland broadband quality

Friday, October 28th 2011
The University of Ulster has launched a study into broadband and mobile services in Northern Ireland.
Survey aims to assess Northern Ireland broadband quality
A new survey has been launched by the University of Ulster that aims to assess the quality of broadband and mobile connectivity in Northern Ireland.

Recent research from Ofcom revealed download capabilities are much faster in Belfast - at 8.9Mbps - than in counties such as Fermanagh, where subscribers are stuck with average speeds of just 4.3Mbps.

While the availability of super-fast broadband services with minimum 24Mbps rates, is higher in Northern Ireland than any other part of the UK, it is a relatively new product and among those still using conventional broadband services, a quarter of these are receiving less than 2Mbps.

Mobile coverage compared poorly with the rest of the country, as only 54 per cent of Northern Irish customers are able to access 3G mobile broadband reception.

In the wake of Ofcom's study, the university is urging residents to complete an online survey to give an accurate impression of how good their broadband really is, reports BBC News.

Among the subjects included in the poll are the bandwidth that users signed up for, the internet service provider they chose and whether they have any monthly usage limitations.

Gerard Parr, professor of telecommunications engineering at the university, explained the research is designed to gather direct evidence and feedback to illustrate if any parts of Northern Ireland are missing out.

"We want to capture observations and feedback on the quality of the broadband or mobile service consumers are receiving and the impact this is having on their quality of life, for example: leisure, entertainment, daily work, job creation, accessing new markets, rural support or children's education," he said.

Despite the problems highlighted in the Ofcom report, another study from the regulator showed broadband penetration in Northern Ireland has risen significantly in recent years, from 52 per cent in 2008 to 75 per cent now.

More than eight in ten Northern Irish customers stated they are fairly or very satisfied with their broadband speed.

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