'Stone Age' jibe at our internet
IRELAND is closer to the "Stone Age" than the information age it was claimed, as new research showed our broadband distribution to be disappointingly poor.
A study has found that the country is "not ready" for the next wave of internet technology and is lagging behind most others when it comes to broadband services.
Some 15 countries now rank ahead of us for broadband speed and we are listed as not being prepared for the next generation of "smart" internet applications such as watching HD television online.
The Oxford University study commissioned by Cisco, says download speed has increased by 35pc in the past year.
But while this means Ireland is "OK for today", Kim Majerus of Cisco says we "are not among the 14 countries who are ready for the applications of tomorrow".
Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar said: "The truth is that Irish people pay through the nose for the worst broadband in Europe."
His colleague Bernard Allen described Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe as "Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble" overseeing the "Stone Age communications networks".
"Every time they bang on about the smart economy they may as well be shrieking 'yabba dabba doo!' for all the sense it makes," he said.
However, Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has defended his department's record by arguing that Ireland has seen "a spike in broadband improvement" in the past two years.