Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (67)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

67. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if reports of reduced quality or availability of Internet connectivity due to increased demand since March 2020 have been brought to his attention. [6712/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The provision of telecommunications services is a matter for the relevant service providers operating in a fully liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), as independent Regulator.

I recognise how vital telecommunications services are to citizens for so many aspects of their daily lives, including remote working, studying and staying in touch with family members during the Covid-19 crisis. In April of last year, all major telecommunications providers in Ireland committed to a number of measures to help people stay in touch and work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, a number of operators have implemented further supports for consumers, such as for students in education, who require a high data usage package, by increasing data limits on many existing packages and by the introduction of new packages with very high, or unlimited data offerings. As a result, the market for mobile packages with very high, or unlimited data offerings, is becoming increasingly competitive, which is a positive development for consumers.

In January of this year, ComReg published a market research survey on the impact of Covid-19 on consumer usage and satisfaction of telecommunications in Ireland for 2020 since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. Despite increased usage, no significant drop in the quality of either home broadband or mobile services were reported by consumers. 77% of users felt that their current home broadband was adequate to meet the needs of their household. The findings also confirmed that in general, those using various technology services for work related activities at home are satisfied. The full report is available on ComReg's website: https://www.comreg.ie/study-on-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-home-broadband-and-mobile-service-usage/