–    Digiweb research identifies 8,169 businesses and organisations that struggle to access the internet
–    Counties with the highest numbers of organisations effected are Cork, Tipperary, Kerry, Clare and Meath respectively
–    Sectors hit hardest include retail, tourism and agribusiness
–    New Satellite technology delivers guaranteed internet coverage to 100% of the Irish population with speeds increasing to 10Mbps in 2010

Dublin, 29 October, 2009: Digiweb, the national telecommunications and managed services provider, today announced the results of a comprehensive nationwide survey of Irish businesses which has identified more than 8,000 businesses and organisations that are located in broadband ‘black spot’ areas. **

The 8,169 organisations highlighted by the research are mainly small businesses in rural areas. Many of those identified are involved in the retail, tourism and agribusiness sectors.  This research follows a recently published report from the National Competitiveness Council that ranked Ireland in 12th position in the EU-15 for broadband penetration. Counties with the highest numbers of organisations in areas struggling to access the internet via broadband technology are Cork (1071), Tipperary (712), Kerry (662), Clare (653) and Meath (494).

Providing affordable, high-quality broadband communications to 100% of the population is not only a concern for Ireland, but also many other countries that have areas of low density population.  Satellite broadband technology is now seen as an integral part of the overall digital strategy for many of these countries.

In May this year, Digiweb launched its new satellite broadband service ‘Digiweb Tooway’, which currently offers download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps to all of its satellite customers.  With a major new satellite infrastructure upgrade program planned, Digiweb will increase the speeds to 10Mbps throughout all areas of Ireland later in 2010.

Declan Campbell, COO, Digiweb, said, “With much of Ireland’s future growth dependent on the digital economy, it’s essential that all organisations nationwide have access to high quality internet connectivity.  Dial up and mobile broadband can provide alternative options for a limited number of companies but poor signal strength, disconnection problems and slow download rates are all common problems experienced by users of these technologies.  For businesses seeking to take advantage of web applications that can enhance business performance or even those that just want to use services such as online business banking, it’s essential that they have secure, always-on, high quality broadband.”

“The demand for satellite broadband has been phenomenal so far, particularly from organisations and residents in rural areas with restricted or no internet access.  With our research showing that more than 8,000 small businesses are currently under served, we expect the market for satellite technology to continue its high growth rate,” continued Campbell.