Hybrid working fuels demand for fibre broadband in Ireland

Comreg data shows 372,000 fibre subscriptions, a 50% growth over 2021.

The pandemic was a catalyst for a shift to Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband with households recognising the need for high speeds and quality connectivity.

While the majority of lockdown restrictions have been removed, the trend of remote working continues to grow and recent spikes in fuel prices are likely to see many workers continue to work from home.

“Today, as the cost of living and fuel costs rise, it’s likely that even more workers will choose to work from home and avoid expensive commutes to work”

New data from the Commission for Communications Regulation (Comreg) has revealed that Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology in the Irish market is now on a par with cable broadband subscribers for the first time.

Pandemic was a catalyst for fibre shift

Comreg’s latest quarterly update which covers the last quarter of 2021, shows the number of active subscriptions for Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband stood at 372,000, while cable has fallen slightly to 376,937 (reduction of 0.16% over the quarter).

Just three years ago (Q4,2018), FTTP subscriptions stood at just over 90,000 (90,642.) New FTTP subscriptions since the turn of the year mean that fibre has now overtaken cable; a milestone which will be highlighted in the Q1 2022 Comreg report.

“2022 is a significant milestone for network operators, like SIRO, involved in rolling out Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband networks across Ireland,” said John Keaney, CEO of SIRO.

“The landmark milestone of fibre broadband subscriptions overtaking cable since the turn of the year shows that fibre has come of age in Ireland.

“With the three major network operators in the Irish market, including SIRO, announcing significant expansions or upgrades of their networks to fibre infrastructure in 2021, fibre is the future of broadband connectivity.

“The pandemic hugely accelerated consumer demand for broadband with greater bandwidth and reliability, which only fibre broadband can provide. Today, as the cost of living and fuel costs rise, it’s likely that even more workers will choose to work from home and avoid expensive commutes to work, making reliable, high-quality fibre broadband essential. Comreg’s data reflects this fact, showing that consumers, once they can access fibre broadband are voting with feet and making the switch.”

Broadband market trends to end Q4, 2021:

  • Copper subscriptions fell by 23,000 (22,708) over the quarter and almost 84,000 (83,658) or a 10% decrease over the full year.
  • Cable subscriptions stagnated over the quarter with a decline of 0.16% and a marginal increase across the year of 0.88%
  • In contrast, Fibre to the Premises connections increased by 9% over the quarter and almost 50% (49.65%) for the full year.
John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.