Broadband choices in Ireland

Perfect timing! Just 5 days before I return to Ireland, Damien Mulley posts ‘Broadband choices in Ireland’, a good overview of the options available for consumer broadband internet connection.

I’ve been out of the loop for quite a while, and spoilt by the options available in suburban Southern California (which are, of course, pretty good). But this is a lot better than what was on the table when I left, 3 years ago.

What strikes me is that the upload/download speeds are quite reasonable and pretty close to what you’d see in the US. Similarly, the prices are finally near to the going rate in the US, once the various limitations and add-ons (required ‘bundles’, state taxes etc.) are taken into consideration.

However, virtually all of these deals use the horrendous concept of download capping! Given that I use this stuff for work, and routinely rsync around 30GB chunks of email corpora between central offices, colo servers, and my desktop, this just won’t fly. It could be argued that I’m therefore not a typical broadband consumer, who these deals have been carefully designed to cater for. But seriously — if a telecommuting software developer isn’t a typical broadband consumer, who the hell is? Hey telcos: a little flexibility goes a long way — don’t fence me in. ;)

All in all, it looks like Smart Telecom are the winners; 3Mb/s download, 512Kb upload — and most importantly, no cap — for EUR 35 per month. (And check out that XHTML/WAI-compliant website!)

I probably would have gone with Irish Broadband, but for the past 6 months the only thing I’ve been hearing about them via word-of-mouth has been bad news, detailing customer service meltdown after meltdown. Even the legendarily incompetent ‘biddies’ of Eircom seem to be getting better reviews nowadays.

Talking of Eircon, our dear old dirty-tricks-wielding celtic-tiger-throttling incumbent telco: the top Sponsored Link on a Google search for irish broadband is:

Irish Broadband — More speed, prices reduced by 25%, free modem & a free connection!


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  1. Posted February 9, 2006 at 20:30 | Permalink

    Netsource are a good option if you’re using the line for business.

  2. Posted February 9, 2006 at 21:13 | Permalink

    I know it’s not really a concern for you, but some people are finding Blue Face + Smart to be a good combination. Cheap broadband, cheap calls and your pre-existing Eircom phone no. :)

  3. Posted February 9, 2006 at 21:19 | Permalink

    Conall – I doubt that Justin will get much DSL from a design house :)

  4. Fergal Somers
    Posted February 9, 2006 at 23:26 | Permalink

    Hey I have Irish Broadband (2 Meg Symmetric / 20:1 contention and no download cap – to be honest they were no trouble – their system just worked. Although you hear horror stories if it doesn’t – but I think they are trying to address that now.

    I tried Eircom, they told me my line wasn’t good enough. I tried Smart telecom, but they haven’t reached my exchange (plus the line is probably still poxy).

    I also use Blueface for phone (VOIP) – insanely cheap.

  5. Conor
    Posted February 10, 2006 at 13:02 | Permalink

    What has happened with your cat? My dog is still living a decadent life at my inlaws, in San Fran. Counting down the seconds to getting her home. Congratulations on the marriage news btw!

  6. donal
    Posted February 10, 2006 at 15:25 | Permalink

    I had a bad experience with Irish broadband, never heard the same thing twice from their phone support. said they would do a line-of-sight test and arrange a installation in the next two weeks. ( that was six months ago).


  7. Posted February 10, 2006 at 20:00 | Permalink

    hey Conor!

    Cat’s doing well — he’s on target for a return to oul’ sod in about 2 months, accompanying the lovely Catherine on her flight home. (It’s her turn, I did the hard work on the way out ;)

  8. Rob E
    Posted February 14, 2006 at 14:43 | Permalink

    Access speeds are about to take a jump – Smart will be offering up to 6mbps, Eircom (and rebadgers) 5mbps and NTL is rumoured to offer their 10mbps service as in the UK when their current upgrade finishes in March. The latter has a 75GB a month cap, which isn’t too bad. So things are looking up, at long last.

  9. George
    Posted February 20, 2006 at 13:09 | Permalink

    Like Fergal Somers above I’ve been using the fixed service from IBB for a little over a year. It been pretty reliable. First time I called support they did not reply for two weeks (I kid you not). The next time I called a few weeks ago they were very on the ball and could tell me which of their high sites was out and when it would be back.

    It is worth remembering that IBB are owned by NTR who operate the toll on the M50 ring road.

  10. Eddie
    Posted February 24, 2006 at 02:36 | Permalink

    I had Eircom broadband but it was difficult to get it installed. Found it expensive cos i already had an ISDN line but they then needed to give me another (analogue) line just to fit broadband.

    Now I have IBB – but only the 1Meg but it is great – no problems so far. Using Smart/Blueface – hoping to port my ‘Eircom Geographic’ number to Blueface

    Things are looking up…

  11. anto
    Posted June 22, 2006 at 19:41 | Permalink

    I am signing up for Smart Telecom, I think they are the best deal I am aware of.

    I had a friend who used Irish Broadband but the router never arrived, only the direct debit! They never replied to his email, and when he phoned on one occasion (from his mobile) he waited an hour listening to moronic music and then the line just cut out, it cost him about 15 euro for that call!

    When I did a search for Irish Broadband last year on google, the company Irish Broadband came up on top but it is the worst customer service experience I have ever come across.

  12. Michael
    Posted June 29, 2006 at 09:21 | Permalink

    I just arrived back from a long stint abroad so had to figure out who to use. I’m in Swords (Nth Dublin). Smart seem to offer the best packages but according to their website they don’t do Swords and I couldn’t get a date for them. Next I tried Magnet. For their better packages they don’t do Swords either. All they could offer was ADSL which wasn’t too attractively priced for what they delivered. So I signed up for a BT phone line and was going to go with them. Because of the 2.5 months I had to wait for the line I started shopping for wireless. I heard horror stories about IBB too but their prices were good and my justification was if they don’t deliver I’ll cancel them. I bought my own router off eBay so I don’t know what their service is like for that. I signed up for Breeze 2Mb with no caps. There’s a fair use policy but according to the sales guy that only kicks in about 60GB and then they’ll prioritise web services for the other users on your link if you’re causing a problem. So far it’s been great. I surf during the evening with little lag. Irish ISP test ( never reports me as getting over 1Mb/s but when I use uTorrent I can see torrents nearly maxing out my line at 200KB/s so I’m happy enough. Upload is nowhere near 2Mb though. It’s more on a par with ADSL. I’ve only had it a week though so it could go either way. The sales guys were pretty prompt with answering my questions too with every email I sent getting a reply the same day. I haven’t tried tech support yet. I’m hoping I won’t need to.

  13. Caz
    Posted August 29, 2006 at 09:19 | Permalink

    Well as you can see, living in Mayo, I use AOL. I dont think its any more expensive that Eircom which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    They have absolutely the most horrific service and definately need to re group on their prices…..way out there!!!

    Im hoping also to have broadband…but it seems it hasnt reached the far corners of the West.