In this section

1. Dongles - broadband via mobile
2. Wireless broadband
3. Broadband via TV
4. Broadband where these is no mobile or TV signal

1. DONGLES - BROADBAND VIA MOBILE

From €20 a month

All mobile phone companies now offer dongles – a stick that you plug into the USB port – for around €20 a month. Wi-max also offers a dongle for as low as €10 a month for 3MB and €15 a month for 7MB.

The 3 network’s starter price is €9.99 a month plus the on-off cost of a dongle of €19 while Vodafone and Meteor do deals for €20 a monthly. And Vodafone also offer a pay-as-you-go option for €3 a day.

The advantage is you get broadband immediately. The dongle fits in your pocket or your handbag and you can use it anywhere there is a mobile signal.

The disadvantage is you can only use it one computer at a time, so it’s restrictive if you are home with a number of devices.

Wi-fi broadband via your mobile phone

From €39 a month

Mobile phone companies also offer a relatively new gadget which allows you to turn your phone into a wi-fi hotspot to share with your friends of family.

Similar to a dongle, it allows you to use it anywhere there is a mobile signal. It will give you wi-fi access wherever you go. These devices are also small enough to fit in your pocket. 02 also offer a cable version of this.

Check on the mobile phone company’s website first to see if there is coverage.

Coverage of Vodafone and O2 is pretty much country-wide and Meteor is now in 70 towns around the country.

2. WIRELESS BROADBAND

WiMax/Imagine

Wi-max is the name of a new “4th generation” broadband technology and is being rolled out across the country by a company called Imagine. It is much faster than the conventional DSL broadband delivered through the landline and very competitively priced.

Dongles cost as little as €10 a month. Standalone broadband via a box (like the old Ripwave boxes) starts at €25 for 1Mb service or €35 for 7Mb.

Imagine also own the Irish Broadband network and have about 100,000 customers between Imagine DSL services and Irish Broadband Ripwave ‘broadband in a box”. They also acquired Clearwire.

Ripwave customers are being upgraded to WiMax.

The wireless signal is distributed via a network of transmitters on masts around the country - in late 2010 the service was available in large parts of Dublin and 20 other towns in Ireland including Athlone and Dundalk.

The company is using high profile media campaigns to let the public know when it moves into the area, but you can check for coverage on www.imagine.ie

Digiweb

Digiweb is one of the key providers of broadband in cities and rural Ireland where there is no DSL broadband available (ie, places that have no broadband via Eircom).

It has four main services

  • Congestion-free broadband in the main cities and towns in Ireland. Digiweb bought the 26 old Smart Telecom exchanges which are dedicated exclusively to broadband with minimum 10Mb service for €39.95. The big plus with Digiweb is it offers 170 Gb downloads a month.This is the probably the highest in the market – normally download packages can be as low as 40GB a month. That’s pretty crucial if you’re watching live TV or you’re a heavy gamer. 170 GB will get you 200 hours of video, 40,000 songs or 25,000 photos a month.
     
  • In also offers wireless broadband, similar to WiMax. All customers have to do is get a small antenna (the size of a greeting card) attached to the side of your home and get fitted with a modem indoors and you’re off. The entry-level cost is €39.95
     
  • Like Vodafone (Formerly BT and Esat), Digiweb also offers a landline service – but you have to be within a few kilometres of an Eircom exchange to get this. This service, called DSL Lite, costs €25 for a 1Mb service.
     
  • • It also satellite broadband, a lifeline for those who can’t get a landline or mobile broadband service because of mountains or distance from an exchange. The start-up costs are very high - €590 if you don’t have a dish already (it uses the same satellite as Sky). If you have a dish, it’ll cost between €50 and 100 less, says Digiweb. After than it’ll set you back €34.99 a month.

3. BROADBAND VIA TV

Triple play – TV, broadband and telephony in one

UPC and Homevision both offer these triple play packages. UPC’s entry level package is €60 a month while Homevision comes in at €40.82

Homevision offers up to 30 channels including the Sky services but it is only available in parts of Dublin. Check with the Homevision website for availability. It has an easy-to-use interactive tool to check your area.

 

4. BROADBAND WHERE THIS IS NO MOBILE OR TV SIGNAL

The National Broadband Scheme is a government initiative to ensure broadband connectivity in areas in rural areas where it is unavailable through a landline.

3, the mobile phone company, was contracted in 2008 to deliver the service. It is part of the multi-national Hutchison Whampoa group.

Galway, Mayo and Kerry have the largest swathes of land without broadband but every other county has pockets where coverage is unavailable via the telephone network.

The company will test the signal for mobile in your area and give you a dongle in the first instance. If the signal is not strong enough, 3 will put in a repeater to boost it. If that doesn’t work it will try a mobile antenna, and finally, in the last resort it will put in a satellite antenna.

The basic cost of broadband is €19.99 a month.

Check if you are in one of these electoral divisions identified

For more information 

The National Broadband Scheme - government website

The National Broadband Scheme - Three installs it