Internet speeds have come on leaps and bounds in recent years thanks to advances in broadband, yet some rural areas still do not benefit from good connectivity.

Broadband in rural areas in Ireland, often lacks the reliability and speed of broadband found in towns and cities, which can be frustrating for residents who are paying the same amount for a poorer service.

Rural broadband encounters speed and connectivity problems for a number of reasons, with the difficulties in reaching these areas being the primary cause. Cabling for broadband networks needs to go further to reach rural areas, leaving it more at risk of faulty connections or a disrupted service.

Many homes in rural areas also experience broadband problems because the line between homes and the nearest telephone exchange is generally longer than in towns and cities. Yet rural broadband deals and services are improving all the time and there are now a number of different options available.

Broadband available in rural areas

Broadband providers are continuing their efforts to boost their rural broadband deals and services, while speeds are getting better all the time. So, what rural broadband options are there?

ADSL broadband

  • Uses telephone cables to deliver broadband
  • Homes require a telephone landline to use ADSL broadband
  • ADSL network covers vast majority of Ireland
  • Only the very remotest areas do not have access
  • Rural broadband speeds can vary hugely
  • Depends on a home’s proximity to a telephone exchange

Compare the latest ADSL broadband deals in Ireland.

Fibre broadband

  • Most up-to-date broadband technology
  • Uses fibre optic cabling to deliver superfast broadband
  • Offers highest speeds - 1000Mb in some cases
  • Lack of availability in rural areas as fibre optic cabling has not been installed
  • Network is being expanded all the time

Compare the latest fibre broadband deals.

Mobile broadband

  • Uses 3G /4G mobile networks to deliver broadband
  • No need for landline connection
  • Lower speeds than fibre broadband
  • Can often be more reliable in rural areas
  • May not work if mobile phone signal is weak
  • An expensive option for home broadband

Compare the latest mobile broadband deals in Ireland.

Satellite broadband in rural areas

Another option for those in rural areas is satellite broadband, which uses a dish to receive an internet signal via satellite. This can be an attractive option for homes in rural areas as it completely bypasses the issue of cabling and telephone connections.

While ADSL broadband has extensive coverage across Ireland, and the national next generation broadband network is being expanded all the time, satellite broadband is the only service that can promise 100% coverage across the country. Mobile broadband comes close, though this is not as reliable as satellite technology.

Satellite broadband may not offer the best rural broadband deals in terms of cost, but the speeds are competitive and the service can be much more reliable in rural areas than some of the other options.

Compare the latest satellite broadband deals.

Main satellite broadband providers
There are a number of satellite broadband providers in Ireland that offer some good rural broadband deals, with competitive speeds and reasonable prices. These include:

Digiweb

  • Speeds of up to 100Mb
  • Full coverage across Ireland
  • Unlimited downloads available

Onwave

  • Speeds of up to 22Mb
  • Download limit up to 100GB available
  • Simple service switch
  • Full coverage across Ireland

Q Sat

  • Speeds of up to 10Mb
  • Download limit up to 15GB
  • Shorter 12 month contracts
  • Full coverage across Ireland

Other rural broadband options

While satellite broadband can be amongst the best rural broadband deals in terms of reliability, providers using an ADSL or fibre network offer faster speeds and lower prices generally.

Most rural homes will be able to benefit from rural broadband using ADSL connections, which are used by major providers such as Sky, Vodafone and others.

Fibre broadband networks are being expanded all the time and while many rural areas do not yet have access to these services, some are beginning to benefit. Providers such as Virgin Media and eir are leading with fibre broadband services while other providers such as Vodafone, Magnet and Digiweb, all provide fibre broadband packages, at competitive rates.