Irish telco eircom has announced that it has upgraded 30 additional telephone exchanges for broadband, taking overall coverage to 85% and matching the EU-15 average. The company says 435 exchanges have now been enabled for ADSL services, with speeds ranging from 512kbps to 5Mbps in some places. The remaining 15% of the country not yet covered comprises 700 exchanges, and a spokesman for eircom has called on the government to assist with the upgrade of these exchanges, saying that they are too small to be commercially viable.
Not everyone concurs with eircom’s claim of 85% broadband coverage. Damien Mulley, chairman of Ireland Offline, said that the figure ignores users connected to broadband-enabled exchanges, but whose lines fail the line-quality test that is a prerequisite for signing up for broadband. Mulley estimated the true availability is around 64%.