Home Broadband Providers in Ireland
There are many providers offering home broadband deals in Ireland, including:
The provider and plan you go for will depend on what’s available in your area, what broadband speed you want, and whether you want to bundle your broadband with a TV or phone plan.
Types of home broadband
There are several different types of home broadband. It’s likely that not all types will be available where you live, so the one that’s best for you will depend on what kind of speed you want and whether you need unlimited home broadband or are happy with a smaller data allowance.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband uses an existing home phone line to provide an internet connection of up to 24Mbps.
As this technology uses the phone line in your home, you’ll need a home phone line installed in order to avail of it. It’s also important to note that your distance from the nearest telephone exchange and the quality of your phone connection could impact your speed.
Providers of ADSL broadband include Digiweb, eir, Pure Telecom, Sky, and Vodafone, and introductory prices start at €25 per month. This type of broadband is generally good for those in rural areas as anyone with a phone line can avail of it.
Cable broadband is another name for fibre broadband - with cable broadband, broadband is delivered to your home using fibre-optic cables. The fastest type of fibre connection is Fibre-to-the-Home, but Fibre-to-the-Cabinet is more common and can still offer speeds up to 360Mbps.
At present, cable broadband is available from many providers, such as eir, Digiweb, Magnet, Sky, Virgin Media, and Vodafone. The likes of SIRO, eir, enet and Virgin Media are continually working to roll out superfast speeds across Ireland, which means it’s getting easier and cheaper than ever to access high-speed internet.
However, in certain rural areas throughout the country, some fibre & superfast broadband packages still may not be available. If the broadband you want is not currently available in your area, consider the other types of broadband that are available - for example satellite broadband or ADSL - and see if one of these might work for you.
Fibre broadband is the quickest type of broadband connection, and as a result it can be more expensive than the likes of ADSL broadband.
With fibre broadband, broadband is delivered to your home using fibre-optic cables. The fastest type of fibre connection is Fibre-to-the-Home, which brings the fibre cables directly into your home - this can currently deliver speeds of up to 1,000Mbps.
Other connections are known as Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, which delivers fibre to your nearest cabinet and then usually uses copper cables to bring the connection to your home. Speeds from up to 100Mbps up to 360Mbps are available through these types of connections from the likes of eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone. The actual speed you get will depend on your provider and your distance from the cabinet.
This type of broadband suits consumers who require fast speeds, but want to get broadband without having a phone line installed.
Mobile broadband means mobile internet access which is provided to customers through a mobile phone signal.
As the technology used to provide mobile broadband is the same as the one that lets you use your mobile phone, many mobile network carriers offer mobile broadband via mobile dongles and 4G SIMs. Dongles can enable mobile broadband access on laptops and PCs, while 4G SIM cards can be used to gain access to the internet on a tablet.
Mobile broadband can be really useful, especially for people who need access to the internet on the move, however bear in mind that if your mobile phone signal is bad where you live, you’ll likely get poor mobile broadband signal, too.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on data allowances if you opt for a mobile broadband plan, as these can be quite low, and the charges for going above the limit tend to be steep.
Satellite broadband is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish, and provides speeds of up to 30Mbps.
Although it is slower than other types of broadband, the major benefit of satellite broadband is that it can provide an internet connection to any home - this can be particularly important in rural areas, where laying cables is not possible.
Unlike other broadband, satellite packages will have a cap on downloads - at the moment, these range from 8-50GB per month.
One of the the main providers of satellite broadband in Ireland is Europasat.
Wireless broadband is a term that’s widely used - some people use it to refer to broadband that you can connect to via WiFi (so multiple devices can be connected at any one time), while others use it as another way to describe mobile broadband.
When we’re talking about broadband that you can connect to via WiFi, this works by using a wireless router, which converts an incoming signal and transmits it throughout your home. This signal is then picked up by any wireless-enabled devices within the transmission area, enabling them to connect to the wireless broadband.
The vast majority of broadband providers these days will provide a router to allow you to connect many devices to your home broadband via WiFi.
How do I compare home broadband deals?
When you’re comparing offers, there are a few things to consider:
- Price. This will probably be the most important factor when it comes to choosing a broadband package - bundles are available to suit most budgets, so it might be a good idea to think about what you’re willing to pay before comparing deals.
- Broadband speed. Speed is also a really important thing to consider when comparing broadband providers. The speed you need will depend on what you’ll be using the broadband for, and the speeds available to you will depend on the types of broadband and providers operating in your area.
- Contract length. Most broadband and phone contracts are 12-18 months long, but there are some 30-day contracts available if you need a shorter-term deal. Make sure to check this before signing up so you know how long you’ll be tied into your plan.
- Discount period. Sometimes discounts last for the whole contract length, and other times they’re for a shorter period. Check this before signing up, and make note of when the discount period ends, so you can budget accordingly.
- Installation costs. Some providers offer free installation, while with others there’ll be an upfront charge.
- Bundle options. If you need TV and/or phone as well as broadband, see if you can get a bundle to suit you - most of the time you will make savings by opting to bundle.
How fast is my home broadband?
Remember, providers advertise an ‘up to’ speed, and the actual speed you get will depend on a number of things, like whether you’re using WiFi or not, and your distance from the exchange.
The best way to find out your actual speed is to take a broadband speed test. Try to take the test a number of times, at various times of day, to get an overall idea of your average speed.
Can I get home broadband without a phone line?
It is possible to get broadband without a phone line - you could opt for a Virgin Media, if they’re in your area. They offer speeds up to 360Mbps via fibre cables, and were named the fastest provider in Ireland at the 2018 Switcher.ie Awards.
If Virgin Media doesn’t offer broadband in your area - and you really don’t want to install a phone line - you could opt for satellite broadband, which is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish, and provides speeds of up to 50Mb.
Can I add TV or home phone to my home broadband plan?
If you need TV and/or phone along with your broadband, you’ll usually save by opting to bundle the services together and getting them from the same provider.
If you want to get a TV and broadband package, there are 4 main providers in the Irish market. The eir Vision TV Essential & Broadband plus Off-Peak + eir sport plan from eir is the cheapest package on the market at the moment - it comes with broadband speeds of up to 100Mb.