Rural broadband options in Ireland
We've got all of the information you need on what your broadband options are if you live in rural Ireland.
What is rural broadband?
Rural broadband basically means broadband that’s available in more rural parts of the country. Many people in rural areas complain that their broadband tends to be less reliable - and slower - than the broadband you can get in larger urban areas.
I live in rural Ireland - what options do I have?
The options you have in terms of broadband will largely depend on where you live - the National Broadband Plan is aiming to roll out fast broadband to all homes in Ireland, and work on this has already started, so some rural areas already have fast, reliable broadband.
If fibre broadband is not yet available where you live, your options are likely to be:
- ADSL broadband, which uses an existing home phone line to provide an internet connection of up to 24Mb.
- Satellite broadband, which is set up in a household through the installation of a satellite dish, and provides speeds of up to 30Mb.
- Mobile broadband, which is provided to customers through a mobile phone signal.
Who provides broadband in rural Ireland?
The most widely-available broadband in rural Ireland is ADSL broadband. The providers this is available from include:
Best rural broadband deals
The best broadband package for you will totally depend on what you’re looking for. If you want a reliable connection, with unlimited usage, an ADSL plan may be the best bet. This plan from Vodafone is popular. It’s a broadband-only deal, which means you have the option of streaming TV or going for a traditional digital TV package from another provider.
Satellite broadband is great for people in remote areas - in that it can provide a connection to any home - but you’ll find there are strict download limits, so if you’re a heavy user, or you have a busy household, this probably won’t suit.
Likewise, mobile broadband could be good option, but you’ll need to make sure that you have a strong mobile phone signal where you live, to ensure you’ll have a reliable connection.
What broadband speed can I get?
The speeds you can get will depend on which kind of plan you’re signed up to. If you go for an ADSL plan, you’ll get speeds of up to 24Mb, while the fastest satellite broadband plan has speeds of up to 50Mb.
What are the common problems with broadband in rural areas?
Traditionally, broadband availability and speed in rural Ireland has been an issue - primarily because it’s more difficult to reach these areas with the required cabling. However, options for rural broadband have gotten better in recent years, and services are improving all the time.
I have only slow broadband - are there any options?
If you’re having issues with your broadband and you haven’t switched recently, it might be time to consider doing so. New technology and plans are rolling out all the time, and many providers offer decent discounts to new customers. So, you might not only get better speeds, you’ll probably save a packet, too.
If you’ve recently switched, or you can’t get a faster plan where you live, try our tips on improving slow broadband, which could make a big difference.
Will faster broadband come soon?
It feels like faster broadband has been promised to people in rural Ireland for years, with no real progress. However the good news is that things do finally seem to be starting to improve, with SIRO and eir rolling out fibre to more and more areas all the time, and Virgin Media expanding its reach, too.
On top of this, the National Broadband Plan is continuing alongside commercial rollouts, with a commitment to deliver high-speed broadband to every premises in the country by the end of 2020. The targets are:
- 70Mbps - 100Mbps available to at least 50% of the population with a majority having access to 100Mbps;
- at least 40Mbps, and in many cases much faster speeds, to at least a further 20% of the population and potentially as much as 35% around smaller towns and villages; and
- a minimum of 30Mbps available to all.
So there could be light at the end of the tunnel for anyone really struggling with slow broadband speeds. Watch this space!