Household Internet Connectivity
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) have recently published 'Internet Coverage and Usage in Ireland 2023'. Internet connectivity in 2023 stood at 94 per cent, the same as 2022. Whilst households in Dublin still continue to outpace the rest of the country for access to fixed broadband (with 96 per cent ),however, the Border and Midlands have improved considerably from an average of 78 per cent coverage to 91 per cent. Almost every household with children is connected to the internet compared to 82 per cent of adult only households. Fixed broadband connection is the most commonly used, accounting for 86 per cent of households. Fixed broadband connection was highest in the Dublin region at 91 per cent when compared with 79 per cent of the Border region.
Among households who did not have internet access, the main reasons for not having it were that it was not needed (56 per cent), followed by a lack of skills (27 per cent), high equipment costs and prohibitive cost of access ( 12 per cent and 7 per cent). Six per cent also reported the lack of availability of broadband internet as a factor. Thirteen per cent reported that they had access to the internet somewhere else (work, local library, etc.) and that this was a reason for not having household internet connectivity.
Frequency of Internet Usage
The report noted that "of all respondents aged 16 years and over, more than nine in ten (92 per cent) individuals have used the internet within the previous three months, unchanged from 2022, while just 1 per cent of individuals had used the internet but more than three months ago. One in fourteen (7 per cent) had never used the internet, predominantly older persons - 42 per cent of persons aged 75 and over have never used the internet. This compared with just 1 per cent of persons aged 30 to 44 years, and 2 per cent of persons aged 45 to 59 years, who have never used the internet. All persons aged 16 to 29 years have used the internet within the previous three months."
Also of note is that almost all (96 per cent) internet users used either their smart phone or mobile phone to access the internet.
At European level, Ireland ranks 5th in the EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) (European Commission, 2022). They report that fixed, very high-capacity network (VHCN) coverage has grown steadily from 83 per cent to 89 per cent in 2021. However, despite this, in terms of connectivity, the take up of at least 100Mbps fixed broadband is only 37 per cent compared to the EU average of 41 per cent and that, at least 1 Gbps take-up is very slow in Ireland at only 4.27 per cent compared to the EU average of 7.58 per cent. Ireland’s average yearly relative growth of its DESI score between 2017 and 2022 is approximately 8.5 per cent which is one of the highest in the EU.
Ireland performs above the EU average in advanced digital skills (for example, for the indicators on ICT specialists, female ICT specialists and ICT graduates) and the basic digital skills of the population has increased to 70 per cent against the EU average of 54 per cent.