It may seem indecently early to be talking about the National Ploughing Championships - but preparations for the event are well under way.

In just over a month's time the championships will get underway in Screggan, Co Offaly, with more than 280,000 visitors and 1,700 exhibitors set to attend from the 19th of September. 

The job of providing internet access to the largest outdoor event in Europe falls to Open Eir - the wholesale communications provider which provides access to Eir's network - but according to Orlagh Nevin, Director of Sales, Marketing and Service at Open Eir, the firm is up to the challenge.

"Over the last number of months we have had a team of people working on this," she said. "We'll deliver probably in excess of 5km of fibre in approximately 400 acres, so that's going to deliver a high speed broadband network - you're going to have WiFi hotspots for visitors, you're going to have visitors being able to access speeds of up to 1,000Mbits, so it will enhance their experience."

But as much of a challenge as it will be to provide those kinds of speeds to people at the Ploughing Championships, the real work for Open Eir is getting high speed connections to rural Ireland on a daily basis.

The company has signed an agreement with the Department of Communications to bring fibre broadband to 300,000 rural premises by the end of next year and Ms Nevin said the company was working hard on achieving that.

"We're reporting monthly to the Department of Communications in terms of our progress," she said. "Our last key milestone was the end of June, which was to have 70,000 premises completed, which we met. We have a huge team working on this, it's our key focus."

Ms Nevin said the company has made made promises and commitments in relation to the roll-out -  not only to the department itself but also to 300,000 homes and businesses that are now anticipating fibre connectivity in the near future.

However many people who already have broadband are not happy with the speeds they are getting - with a recent survey by Switcher.ie putting satisfaction levels with broadband speeds below 50%.

Ms Nevin said there is work to be done - but connectivity is improving all the time.

"At the moment we would have approximately 1.6 million homes passed with the high speed network," she said, adding that the department requires a minimum speed of 30Mbps at each of those premises. "Is it perfect, are we where we want to be? No. Have we made progress? Absolutely.

"In the last number of years there's been significant progress in terms of our roll-out. By the end of 2018 you've got 1.9 million premises which will be able to access speeds of 1,000Mbps - hugely future-proofed in terms of anything any home or business would want to do."