My Broadband speed just improved by a factor of 20.

Measured speed via Eircom a week ago was 2.3MB.  Typical speed maxed out at 2.9MB. It was supposed to be an uncontested 8BM. It never was.

Measured speed via UPC on Saturday was 52mb.

That’s a fairly substantial difference.

It means I don’t worry about my wife watching BBC or RTE on the Player in the Kitchen while I’m listening to Internet radio in the study, or worry about taking a Skype video call while the kids are streaming the Minecraft Gang on YouTube. Or wonder about watching YouTube in HD. Or doing all of them at once.  All sorts of things become possible.

I’ve been online a while. I can still hear the echoing drone of a US Robotic’s 14.4K modem if I listen carefully. The crackly connection to Ireland Online was like sticking in a straw to drink the Atlantic Ocean, and no less vital for it. The speed improved  from 28K to 33.5K, and then 56K.  I was on 56K up until 9 years ago when I switched to Broadband. I got 3MB then and that’s all I’ve been able to get pretty much for the last 9 years.

Until UPC finally upgraded my area (in Dublin) a few weeks ago.

We should have had better infrastructure sooner if Eircom hadn’t been flogged to the private sector in an deluded miasma in the early days of the Celtic Tiger. And hadn’t been asset stripped by a succession of owners, including the unions over the past decade and a bit. This document has an interesting summary of Eircom and the consequences of privatisation. From debt free to bankrupt is a very sad story indeed.

The provision of cheap reliable broadband is still a problem. For a country that has major offices of Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and a thriving  indigenous IT sector it’s a sorry state of affairs.

As technology marches on many areas in Ireland are still left behind. And unfortunately this is likely to continue.