Eircom broadband?

I’m moving house. Naturally, first priority after getting the keys is getting the broadband set up ;)

Current broadband: BT DSL. Supposedly “up to” 3Mbps — however, as with most DSL connections in Ireland, it’s rate-adaptive RADSL, which means it trades off connection speed against distance to exchange and line quality.

Sadly, this has really deteriorated since the last time I checked! A “bing” test between the BT-supplied DSL router and the far end looks like this:

BING ( and (
        44 and 108 data bytes (1024 bits) minimum delay difference is zero, can't estimate link throughput  6.966Mbps 0.147ms 0.143555us/bit minimum delay difference is zero, can't estimate link throughput 19.692Mbps 0.052ms 0.050781us/bit  4.697Mbps 0.218ms 0.212891us/bit  3.261Mbps 0.314ms 0.306641us/bit  3.170Mbps 0.323ms 0.315430us/bit  2.479Mbps 0.413ms 0.403320us/bit  2.723Mbps 0.376ms 0.367187us/bit  2.688Mbps 0.381ms 0.372070us/bit  2.716Mbps 0.377ms 0.368164us/bit  2.065Mbps 0.496ms 0.484375us/bit  1.984Mbps 0.516ms 0.503906us/bit  1.270Mbps 0.806ms 0.787109us/bit  1.017Mbps 1.007ms 0.983398us/bit  1.002Mbps 1.022ms 0.998047us/bit  1.008Mbps 1.016ms 0.992187us/bit 983.670Kbps 1.041ms 1.016602us/bit 993.210Kbps 1.031ms 1.006836us/bit 987.464Kbps 1.037ms 1.012695us/bit

--- statistics ---
bytes   out    in   dup  loss   rtt (ms): min       avg       max   std dev
   44   762   758          0%           2.524     3.858    19.083     2.194
  108   762   762          0%           2.639     4.187    58.273     3.079

--- statistics ---
bytes   out    in   dup  loss   rtt (ms): min       avg       max   std dev
   44   762   761          0%          13.061    20.025    78.689     8.226
  108   762   760          0%          14.213    17.954    61.137     4.697

--- estimated link characteristics ---
host                              bandwidth       ms                      987.464Kbps      10.536

987Kbps is not 3Mbps any more, not by a long shot. I’d say I now have a lot of new friends adding contention at the ol’ DSLAM. I’m paying way too much money for what I’m getting :(

(Update: actually, it may not be contention. Judging by boards.ie traffic, high-contention situations in Ireland are usually faster in the mornings and daytime, then slower from 4pm-9pm as the commuters and kids get home — however, this slowdown is pretty consistent across all times of day.)

(Update 2: as of right now, late afternoon on Apr 12, it’s the worst I’ve seen it — packet rates of 600Kbps, and packet loss of 5%-20%.)

On top of this, they have the really annoying daily disconnection policy, which I have hacked around with IPv6 and a VPN, but which still manages to waste my time and cause aggravation, even after frickin’ months of pissing about.

For this, and the packaged phone service, I’m paying just under EUR 60 per month, including all call charges and VAT.

At that price, Eircom are offering a pretty good bundle — free connection, free modem, 2Mbps downstream, 256Kbps upstream, unlimited free local and national calls at all times, 5% off calls to mobiles, 10c/min calls to the UK and US.

Now, a drop to 2Mbps may seem a lot, but bear in mind I’m getting just under 1 right now! I’m pretty sure the new gaff will have similar-quality lines and exchanges. Also, if I get the 2Mbps line, and the attenuation and S/N statistics indicate that it can support 3Mbps, I can always upgrade pretty easily.

The only problem now is getting over my revulsion at buying from Eircom, ugh…

Am I missing something? Does that Eircom bundle not include line rental maybe?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted April 6, 2007 at 11:50 | Permalink

    Is switching to an LLU operator an option?

  2. Posted April 6, 2007 at 11:53 | Permalink


    If you want to avoid eircom but use DSL, give imag!ne a try. Same principle of operation as BT but you’ll get a free static IP address and no daily disconnect.

    • Barry
  3. Posted April 6, 2007 at 12:16 | Permalink

    Dumb question from the non-irish around here: what’s the problem with Eircom?

  4. Posted April 6, 2007 at 12:36 | Permalink

    Colin: yes, it definitely would be; however, looking at Magnet’s site, it’s not servicing my new area yet (Dublin 9). Am I missing something?

    Barry: I’m not seeing much of a good deal there at Imagine.ie — on top of a monthly charge for “router rental” (?!), the bandwidth cap is lower than Eircom’s, and the excess usage charge is higher.

    I’d be going with Eircom because all posters on Boards.ie note that they don’t enforce their cap! As I’ve noted before, I telecommute for 5 days a week, backup my machines over the net, and regularly send large email corpora around. The cap issue is a major one for me, and a low, strictly-enforced cap would tend to write off an option very quickly.

  5. Posted April 6, 2007 at 12:50 | Permalink

    We should cover Dublin 9 – we have both finglas and santry exchanges unbundled. Would need a phone number to be sure.

    On page 15 of http://www.uknof.org.uk/uknof7/Whittaker-LLU.pdf there is a coverage map which might be of use.


  6. Posted April 6, 2007 at 13:03 | Permalink

    Justin, I’m not playing Imagine’s salesman here, but two points:

    1. Router rental is 100% optional, as is router purchase. Supply your own and forget about Imagine’s offering.

    2. I didn’t realise caps were below eircom’s – I reckon that’ll change soon! As for enforcement, Imagine don’t tend to unless you really really really abuse it. And (currently) if they plan to charge, you’ll here from them first.

  7. Posted April 6, 2007 at 13:31 | Permalink

    Luis — they are the incumbent telco around here. (“ILEC” in US terminology, I think)

    Until about 10 years ago, they were the only option for telephone/leased-line service; then the market was supposedly deregulated. However, since they owned all the physical infrastructure, and had no intention of giving up their monopoly unless forced, this meant very little. Over time since then, there’s been some movement towards real competition in the consumer-broadband space, but it’s excruciatingly slow, and with lots and lots of foot-dragging on Eircom’s part.

    (Part of this can be blamed on the government, which sold shares in the newly-privatized Eircom to investors in an IPO, including most of the populace of Ireland to some degree. Once it did that, effective regulation of Eircom’s activity became politically impossible, since any punitive action would hurt the shareholders — ie. most of the eligible voting population of Ireland — directly! Not the finest example of foresight there….)

    The “LLU” Colin refers to is Local Loop Unbundling — this means allowing other licensed network operators to directly install their own physical infrastructure into Eircom’s exchanges, to interface directly with the “local loop” — the wire from my house to the exchange.

    This is a pretty common situation in many countries around the world, btw — but Ireland’s government has made a particularly bad job of dealing with it.

  8. Posted April 6, 2007 at 14:19 | Permalink

    hmm, I never really answered your question there, Luis. ;)

    My problem with Eircom, personally, is that I consider their actions to have substantially harmed Ireland’s progress into the 21st century. Ireland’s adoption of the internet across all strata of society has been much slower than it should have been, entirely due to poor access to fast, always-on internet connections.

    Colin: dammit I was saving that presentation until I heard it in person at Barcamp Dublin ;) I’ll just have to read it now. My area is indeed well-covered with yellow in that map — that’s good, right?

  9. Posted April 6, 2007 at 14:27 | Permalink

    hmm, I never really answered your question there, Luis. ;)

    You probably could have stopped at ‘ILEC’, really. :)

  10. Posted April 6, 2007 at 14:32 | Permalink

    Hmm — is it true that Magnet lock down the router, and don’t allow customers to configure port forwarding?

    This and this boards.ie thread seem to indicate that’s the case — a bit of a deal-killer for me.

  11. Posted April 6, 2007 at 14:40 | Permalink

    I have always recommended Eircom to people who are looking for good broadband, because of the quality and reliability. This pains me, as I harbour the same revulsion towards Eircom as you do, combined with the fact that it is quite expensive when they bundle in a telephone line that I don’t want, but the reality is, in the past 5 years, no other provider has given the same uptime or quality of service as Eircom. I use the 2mb service myself, and while on paper there is contention, I always get my full download speeds. Whats more important to me as a gamer (performance in online fps gaming in my opinion is the best benchmark for a DSL product since every 5ms jitter and every packet lost can be felt) is that the ping is very low to everywhere with excellent routing all around Europe. If you’re not a gamer, you might not think this affects you, but in my experience with other ISPs, such as BT, you will sometimes come across a congested router in your path to UK or something, resulting in major latency and packet loss, which will affect sensitive services like Skype and RDP also, and I’m so paranoid of it happening (it can last for days) that I always play it safe and go for Eircom.

    Barry’s advice on the other hand might well be worth taking, because I have never used imagine, but I have not heard anything bad about them, and it means you’re not selling your soul to the devil. Magnet are also decent.

  12. Posted April 6, 2007 at 15:01 | Permalink

    the presentation is about 25% of the material I talk about so there is still lots to hear at barcamp.

    Regarding the router stuff this is one of the most persistent misunderstandings out there at the minute – yes we lock it down but it is not that big a deal because it is acting as a bridge it doesn’t need to do port forwarding. All customer PC’s get real routed public IP addresses – no NAT, no port forwarding.

    http://colin.netech.ie/archives/67 for a longer version of this rant.

  13. Posted April 6, 2007 at 15:17 | Permalink

    hmm, that’s pretty cool!

  14. Posted April 6, 2007 at 18:18 | Permalink

    Colin, the cap is pretty high, right? I seem to recall seeing mention of a 100GB cap in one user comment, but I can’t find any agreement on the Magnet.ie site.

    I ask because it appears I’ve received 67GB of traffic in the past 35 days:

    [email protected]:~# uptime
     17:14:27 up 36 days,  6:03, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
    [email protected]:~# iptables -L -v -n | head -18 | tail -5
    Chain FORWARD (policy DROP 1 packets, 576 bytes)
     pkts bytes target     prot opt in     out     source               destination      
        0     0 DROP       all  --  *      *             state INVALID
    2568K  151M TCPMSS     tcp  --  *      *             tcp flags:0x06/0x02 TCPMSS clamp to PMTU
     246M   67G ACCEPT     all  --  *      *             state RELATED,ESTABLISHED


  15. Posted April 6, 2007 at 21:44 | Permalink

    Hi Justin, We switched from 2Meg Eircom to 3Meg BT and have regretted it. We had to go back to 2Meg due to the line not supporting 3 (we can see the exchange from our house!). But the constant disconnects have been driving me crazy and if anything goes wrong (as it did in Cork for a week) then all BT can do is forward the support queries to Eircom. Despite the better value, I’m probably returning to Eircom pretty soon.

  16. Posted April 7, 2007 at 11:07 | Permalink

    Marketing have been changing the product bundles again. I will get the new product details on tuesday. The old products had 100G/150G caps and any of the business products are uncapped.

  17. Posted April 9, 2007 at 19:42 | Permalink

    Conor: I would have switched from BT here too, if it were easy to do without downtime. it’s a shame, they’re torpedoing their own service…

  18. Posted April 10, 2007 at 00:07 | Permalink

    I’ve had a guy locally ring me three times in as many months from Eircom claiming I’ll have zero downtime if I switch back. I have to admit I’m very tempted.

  19. Posted April 10, 2007 at 07:52 | Permalink

    if you go imagine, you also have to manually switch off their child-safety filtering service, which they charge you 3 euros a month for if you don’t cancel it.

    The magnet offer seems to me to work out kind of pricey. Also, with their cable service, if you have (or want to have) more than one television, you might run into issues. And who wants cable anyway? At least I don’t.

  20. Posted April 10, 2007 at 10:37 | Permalink

    hmm. The guy on Magnet’s signup line tells me that the fastest offering they have in my area is 3MB, and that the 4MB offering etc. are only for new FTTH developments. boo :(

    I think I may just go with Eircom, sorry Colin!

  21. Posted April 10, 2007 at 10:54 | Permalink

    actually, I re-rang Magnet after double-checking the web again. Another guy there informed me that their home broadband service there is 3MB, “but there’s no contention, so it’s as fast as Eircom’s 8MB”. riiiiiiight ;) Also noted that they run broadband over an existing Eircom line, and there’s no included phone service — so that’s basically resold Eircom bitstream from the sounds of it.

  22. Posted April 10, 2007 at 10:57 | Permalink

    I am guessing, but I think Magnet may be targeting areas where there are a lot of apartment development with its unbundling strategy. You might decide to go with magnet just for the sake of ‘spreading the wealth’.

  23. Posted April 10, 2007 at 11:00 | Permalink

    I think most of the new bundles are line share based so we leave your pstn service with eircom but we look after the dsl part.

  24. Posted April 10, 2007 at 11:38 | Permalink

    The “teleworker” product which we sell to residential LLU customers is 3M/256k – I am sure I could tune your line post install for higher speeds.

  25. Posted April 10, 2007 at 14:17 | Permalink


    I have used Eircom’s broadband offering for 2 years. I cannot fault it apart from the fact that the upload speed is horrific if you are doing much in the way of uploading (which I do of high res photographs) but by the same token, I don’t think anyone has a higher upload speed around in the same price category.

    The service has been really reliable – in the two years I think there was maybe two hours of downtime that impacted on me one evening, and that was roughly 18 months ago. I realise a lot of people have principled objections to Eircom, but I have to be practical about these things. They provide a service that works. They’d have to be seriously ripping me off or seriously unreliable for me to consider changing at this stage because it just works, end of story.

    Antoin: Justin’s key decision should be what suits him best, not “spreading the wealth”. But that’s just my two cents worth.

  26. Posted April 10, 2007 at 14:19 | Permalink

    Justin can’t just think of himself. He has to think of all the other Internet users, who are depending on people like him to support smaller players and so keep the market open for competition. (I’m with eircom myself.)

  27. Posted April 10, 2007 at 14:30 | Permalink

    Oh come on antoin, you’re with eircom yourself and you tell him he has to think of strengthening smaller companies over his interests?

  28. new299
    Posted April 10, 2007 at 20:26 | Permalink

    From eircom website:

    • eircom broadband is subject to survey, availability and compatibility. All prices include VAT. Standard line rental of €24.18 (inc. VAT) per month still applies.
  29. new299
    Posted April 10, 2007 at 20:40 | Permalink

    Actually looks like that’s just for boardband without the bundle. A good overview here:


  30. Posted April 10, 2007 at 23:21 | Permalink

    They have a bundle that does what Justin wants for 60/month.

  31. Jonas Alves
    Posted April 11, 2007 at 22:14 | Permalink

    Here in Portugal we have ADSL 2+ at 24Mbps for 39.9 Eur per month: http://acesso.clix.pt/adsl/index.html or 3.5G (HSDPA, UMTS and GPRS) access at 3.6Mbps for the same price: http://www.kanguru.pt/de+o+salto/Produtos/Tarifario/

  32. Posted April 12, 2007 at 10:45 | Permalink

    Jonas —

    yes, the Irish situation is atrocious. You don’t need to tell me, I was on the committee of IrelandOffline for several years ;)

    btw do they have bandwidth caps (limits) on that HSDPA product? there’s a similar one here, too, but it’s limited at around 5GB per month, iirc.

  33. Posted April 17, 2007 at 11:11 | Permalink

    I use VOIP for most calls these days. for 10Euro every 6 months or so I get “free” landline calls to landlines in many countries via one of the betamax group providers. you get 90 free days and then alternate rates to use up the 10 euro credit – most of the time at 0.01euro/min.

    http://www.voipstunt.com/en/rates.html though keep an eye on which of their services offers the best rates for your calls. Here is a nice comparison. http://www.voipproducts.eu/betamax-rates/ Though not all of them support sip calls for some bizare reason. They have one customer database so you need an account for each brand with a different username.

    I use a SIP adapter that supports stun. Zytel 2002 IIRC. http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/default_ShopGroup.asp?ShopGroupID=96

    Good luck with the move!

  34. Posted April 17, 2007 at 13:37 | Permalink

    hey Chris! jesus that looks complicated. ;)

  35. Dave
    Posted May 19, 2007 at 09:14 | Permalink

    I can’t get more than 447k download with Eircoms 2meg package. It’s just happened over the past few weeks. I’ve tried changing modems, even the PC. Eircom engineers say all is well at the exchange. I’m in Tullamore 1.2kms from Exchange. Anyone any thoughts to share?

  36. maca
    Posted May 27, 2007 at 18:43 | Permalink

    Imagine have no download limits

  37. varun walia
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 20:01 | Permalink

    I’ve been with eircom for more than 3 years..just because their service works…even though its probably the most expensive in the country….I decided to join magnet about an year ago…cause of more speed…and about 100 GB downloads as compared to 20 GB i was getting with eircom( even though eircom doesn’t charge as yet)..Took me more than a month to get it first…even though when i applied for it i was told it wont be more than 10 days…so wasn’t the best of starts…….it worked for about a week..and it was off again..so i called tech. support logged a complaint..and got no reply for about a week…till i got a letter from SMART TELECOM…saying that they’ve overtaken the line as per my request (shocking…as i neva had any contact with smart EVER!!!)…and even the telephone number changed…so i called both SMART and Magnet about it..even contacted COMREG…about it..as i believe it was a total joke on part of smart telecom…COMREG..wasn’t much help really..they did nothing to resolve the issue..SMART..well they were gonna be bankrupt soon…and the worst thing was MAGNET did nothing about it…even though i faxed the copies of the SMART letters to MAGNET..who promised to take action…but neva did….so eventually i couldn’t take it any more….and i moved back to eircom..within 3 days after that i had broadband…i’ve moved house now…and got eircom broadband within 5 days..so happy enough with eircom…..and i would recommend it to any body..who needs any suggestions!!!

  38. Dave Oliver
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 08:33 | Permalink

    I’ve never had any real issues with Eircom, and as you say they have never capped download limits.It is my understanding from one of the senior techs they have no future plans to do so either.

    The good thing about Eircom, is that if you encounter unresolved issues and are smart, there are very senior people you can escalate your issue to which ususally results in a satisfactory and speedy resolution. Good luck

  39. Andrew
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 17:15 | Permalink

    I just rang up Esat about their service and was told they’ll soon be bumping their 3 meg customers up to 8 meg. They’ve already done it for Tallaght and a few other places… Merrion Sq is the first of the city centre areas to be upgraded so the rest of us in Dublin (or in D2 at least) should be seeing an upgrade in the next month or so. Happy days.

    About frigging time though.

  40. Posted January 24, 2009 at 22:03 | Permalink

    I have not had any problems (other than moral ones) with Eircom’s service for years. Yes, it’s expensive, but it worked.

    However since last year around June 2008, our DSL connection has been down intermittently. The outage could be minutes, hours, days, or even months. No amount of calling Eircom could convince them that there was clearly a fault… which leads me to believe that it’s NOT actually a fault, and that they’re merely switching the DSL on and off for customers at random in order to cope with the broadband demand. We switched providers for a few months, hoping that it would put the skids under them – nothing. No change. We’re back with Eircom now, and while it was okay for a few days, the problem has started up again. We’re currently without internet for 4 days. (I’m not an IT expert, by the way, but I know my way around routers, connections and computers. We’re well within our usage limits, so there’s no logical reason for the outages.)

    The only thing Eircom seems to have running like clockwork is their billing department, which never fails, despite the fact that there’s no bloody internet.

    How can anyone even consider running a business while dealing with that sort of service?

    So that’s my experience of Eircom… fine until there’s a problem. But God help you after that.

  41. Posted January 25, 2009 at 01:13 | Permalink

    It actually sounds like a modem problem to me. Have you got a new modem? Does resetting the modem help?

  42. Posted January 25, 2009 at 01:25 | Permalink

    It does Antoin, but it’s not. I initially assumed that I’d messed up the settings too, but I have a vast array of Eircom’s routers : the Netopia range between 22xx and 33xx ones, both silver and black. I also have a lovely little Cisco router too. It doesn’t make any difference. Resetting the router works fine, both via the IP address and via the reset button. But the DSL shows as down on the Config page all the time, so it’s not that unfortunately. 1 hour after sending yet another complaint, the net is back and working perfectly. It makes one wonder! (They usually ring when the internet is back working after a few days of being out of action). Wow, that sounds really paranoid!

  43. Posted January 26, 2009 at 08:55 | Permalink

    Hmm. You just have to keep a keen eye on when it stops and starts and see if the pattern can be figured out.

    It could be that they eventually fixed something.

  44. John
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 21:24 | Permalink

    Justin whatever you do don’t sign up with imagine. Been with them for two months and it been the worst ISP ever. Imagine are just as bad as Eircom.net with it silly PR job of silly singing tune for imagine. Join Imagine like I did and you won’t have phone or net working to contact them. They say they are working on the server etc. For four day we had not connection because Imagine was upgrading it server.