The scarcity of broadband in some parts of rural Ireland has been a major talking point in the past number of years. The general consensus is that broadband availability is not up to standard, with the timeframe of 2021-2022 too late for many people’s liking.

Rural Providers

While the problem is generally worse the more rural the area, one Irish company has started to provide broadband to some of Ireland’s worst-affected areas in both urban and rural locations.

Irish-owned broadband provider, Imagine, has started to identify black spots in various towns and their hinterlands throughout rural Ireland. Once an area with little or no broadband is selected, Imagine then go about installing the software to provide 400 households in that particular area with high-speed fibre broadband, something which is invaluable to the area selected.

Managing director and one of the founders of Imagine, Brian O’Donohue, believes the installation of broadband into areas like this is vital for the future of these locations.

“When you see this technology installed in parts of the country that had little no broadband cover previously, it is life-changing for the households and businesses in the area. They would have never have had anything like that before. It certainly gives businesses a greater opportunity,” Brian says.

The service has been provided to seven rural towns so far, including areas such as Ballyhoura in south Limerick and the area west of Listowel. Currently, it is being provided on a locality-to-locality basis. The future plan for this service, according to Brian, is on a county-to-county basis.

“The idea is to put one in each county in the early days, see the response and go from there. We are getting huge responses from areas around where we have provided the service, which gives an indication of how desperate people are to have broadband in their area.” Brian explained.

When the 400 households get the service, it is expected the speeds of broadband received will eclipse even that of broadband speeds in the Dublin region, something rural Ireland desperately requires.


If ever you needed an indication of just how welcomed and vital broadband is in rural communities, look no further than Munterconnaught. In November last year, it was announced that they were successful in securing “Fibre to the Home”, a competition organised by open eir.

The investment by eir, which is valued at €250,000, is set to provide over 200 homes with broadband speeds of up to 1GB.

In response to the launch of the competition, Munterconnaught launched a survey in the town to discover what high-speed broadband would mean to the people of the community. The response, according to local resident Peadar Gill, highlighted just how desperate people were for the service.

“The reaction from people was astounding. People were very vocal in their support for the project. Many people were frustrated by the lack of service and this shone through in the survey,” Peadar said.

The service is expected to be completed by August 2016 and Peadar believes the reward for Munterconnaught will be huge.

“There are so many positives we can look forward to. People can now work from home, which, in many cases, can save a commute for some residents of up to three or four hours. As a result, people have more of a social life, they can spend more time with their families, there are fewer emissions from their cars.

“People are able to communicate with loved ones who are in different countries, even. Businesses benefit, young school kids benefit. College students can come home and study for exams without needing to stay in college. People are over the moon,” he continues.

Around 80% of homes in Munterconnaught will receive the service by the end of the year.

Before this service was provided, on one occasion in Munterconnaught it took an hour for an email to be sent to Maynooth, 48 miles away.

This means that, before broadband was in this area, email speeds could be as slow as 48 miles per hour. According to Peadar, after the service is provided, email will travel at 22,000 miles per hour.

Fine Gael statement

In a statement to the Irish Country Living, Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon says that the Government has pledged rapid action on the issue.

“In the plan for Government, we have committed within the first 100 days that we will establish a mobile phone and broadband passport to provide an immediate solution to the broadband and mobile coverage deficiencies.” he says. CL

Open eir’s bid to improve nationwide broadband

One of the companies bidding for the Government’s contracts is eir. Eir is Ireland’s leading operator in the market at present and commenced the national rollout of broadband in 2013. As shown in the map of Ireland, efforts have been made to extend broadband nationwide. The numbers represent both the number of households and businesses receiving high-speed broadband at present by the provider.

The perception is, however, around rural Ireland that high-speed broadband has been provided too late. Eir has promised 1.9 million households that they will be provided with the service by 2020 and initiatives like this are positive, but this highlights the fundamental issue that broadband is highly sought after all over the country.


Seven things you

need to know

about the National Broadband Plan

  • • The National Broadband Plan by the Government is the plan to ensure 100% of homes in Ireland have high-speed broadband by 2022, as proposed in the new draft plan for Government.
  • • The idea of the plan is that private suppliers would apply for a contract from the Irish Government. Whichever company wins the contract will then receive taxpayers’ money to provide areas around the country with high-speed broadband.
  • • A tendering process is currently ongoing between five different companies to win this contract.
  • • The awarding of the contract has now been delayed until June 2017. This has, in turn, delayed the expected rollout date, which was supposed to be 2020.
  • • Within two years of awarding the contracts, it is expected that 80% of Irish homes will have high-speed broadband. This is planned for 2019.
  • • Within five years of the contract, it is expected that 100% of homes will have high-speed broadband. This is planned for 2022.
  • • It is expected that the tendering contract may be divided among a number of providers. This has been proposed to ensure that the rollout of the broadband will occur at the same time throughout the country.