We pay twice the EU average for broadband
Cost: Study reveals price rip-off
Broadband customers here are paying more than twice the EU average for the service and paying for the most expensive broadband packages in Europe.
A new survey has highlighted that the average monthly cost for broadband in this country for a speed of 2Mb-8Mb is over €70 compared to an EU average of €34.10.
Irish consumers also pay the highest phone line rental charges in the world even before they sign up for a broadband connection.
The new figures for the last three months of 2010 have been revealed in a European Broadband Tariffs Database.
It points out that most broadband packages here cost an average of €33.80 a month but the cost of faster connection rates are typically more than double that cost.
Ireland Offline, the IT consumer advocacy group, stresses that the high broadband costs come on top of very high line rental costs.
They are concerned that Ireland will have the highest minimum call charges in Europe with Eircom's latest decision to increase charges to 9.5c per call for out-of-bundle calls from next month.
The advocacy group says the overall consequences of these tariffs will mean that by October 2011, Ireland will have the most expensive line rental in the world, the most expensive broadband in Europe and the highest minimum call charges in Europe, both day and night.
The group has criticised government policy and regulation for the high cost of accessing broadband here,
"It clearly shows we need dramatic and new thinking if we are ever to be near top of the class in broadband pricing and supply" said group spokesman Eamonn Wallace.
Mr Wallace criticised the industry regulator, ComReg, for allowing such high charges to prevail and accused it of hiding the high cost of minimum call charges in the way ComReg itself calculates such prices.
He explained that ComReg uses three-minute rolling averages to calculate costs but "were they to show one-minute calls we would clearly have the highest call charges in Europe, as well," he said.
Mr Wallace said the survey's results demonstrated "the complete and utter failure of successive ministers and of ComReg to promote effective and consumer-centred competition in the Irish marketplace".