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A guide to choosing broadband

When it comes to choosing the right broadband package, there are many things to consider. Chief among them are cost, speed, and length of contract. With so many packages to pick from, it’s important that you know exactly what kind of broadband package is right to meet your needs.

What type of broadband package is right for me?

  • Broadband for the beginner: If you’re relatively inexperienced when it comes to using the internet or even using computers in general you may only need a basic package. Look for a package that’s inexpensive, comes from a provider with dedicated customer service, and, above all else, is easy to set up.
  • Broadband for the heavy-user: If you’re the type of person who downloads a lot of films, television programmes, or music, or spends a lot of their time playing online games, then packages with high (or non-existent) usage limits are the best for you.
  • Mobile broadband: If you surf the web mostly from your laptop or other portable devices, then a mobile broadband package – which allows internet access both on the move and at home – could be the perfect option. Usually enabled using a device known as a ‘dongle’, which is essentially a modem in the form of a small USB stick, mobile broadband allows the internet to be picked up wirelessly, in areas where a mobile phone signal is present. Additionally, a MiFi device may also be a suitable option. MiFi is a recent type of broadband technology, which allows numerous computers to access the same wireless internet connection at the same time.
  • Broadband for the family: Nowadays, most homes have multiple devices that need an internet connection, such as TVs, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, and of course laptops and computers. For this reason, a family often needs a package similar to a single heavy-user: unlimited download capacity, along with high speeds. You can compare unlimited broadband packages easily using our deal checker.

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What you need to consider

  • What types of broadband connection are available in your area? In sparsely populated areas, options may be more limited when compared with the options available in densely populated towns and cities. It is important to research which options are available. Most densely populated areas will be able to obtain the majority of the broadband packages shown on Switcher.ie.
  • Bundles or broadband only? When you’re signing up for broadband, consider if you’d like to bundle it with another product, like TV, home phone, or both. In most cases, you will save by bundling, so if you already have these additional services, it could be worthwhile.
  • Standard or super fast broadband? The speed of broadband you require will depend on what you’re using the internet for. If you use the internet for things like online gaming then you should consider choosing a high-speed broadband package, while normal activities like email and social media will not require such fast speeds.
  • Are you an occasional or heavy user? When you’re deciding on a broadband package, think about how much you use the internet. If you’re a heavy internet user, and are constantly downloading content, you may want to look into an unlimited data package.
  • Do you want unlimited or capped data? Again, how much you use the internet will have an impact on which type of package you go for. You should also think about the other people in your household and how often they are online. If your household has many people accessing the internet on multiple devices, an unlimited data plan may save you heartache when it comes to bill time.

How important is speed?

It may seem like speed is the most important thing when it comes to a broadband package, but this isn’t necessarily true. Of course, speed is important, but nowadays most broadband is fast enough to meet the needs of the average user - packages ranging in speeds from 10Mbps up to 360Mbps are widely available in Ireland.

If you use the internet for more speed-dependant activities, like online gaming, or if you’re the type of person who always has downloads running, then you should consider choosing a broadband package with higher connection speeds.

The fastest broadband services are those fibre optic broadband products, such as eir which is capable of producing speeds up to 1000Mbps.

What do I need to get broadband?

Many ISPs offer free wireless routers and other various extras with their packages.

Do I need free phone calls with my broadband package?

Bundling your telephone and broadband packages can save you money and time - take a look at our broadband and home phone packages.

Do I need digital TV with my broadband?

Some people aren’t that fussed about digital TV, but others love the sheer range of viewing choice it gives them. If you’re in the latter group, you can compare broadband and digital TV deals on our dedicated page: broadband and digital TV package.

You can compare all the best broadband packages easily using our deal checker.