A fifth of people in rural Ireland say they have no access to broadband, and a quarter say their broadband speed is too slow.

That is according to a new survey which found one in five residents in rural areas are forced to go to venues outside the home to access the internet.

The study, carried out by Amárach on behalf of telecom operators Vodafone, established that a third of people living outside the five largest cities say slow and unreliable internet speeds currently prevent them from working from home and that internet speed is not fast enough for their family requirements.

Broadband speed is particularly a problem for residents of detached houses in the countryside, 44% of whom say it is not fast enough.

The survey of 1,000 adults and 100 businesses across rural Ireland found a sizeable gap of around 22% between broadband penetration in villages, small towns and suburbs.

Just two thirds of village residents say they have access to the internet, rising to 90% in suburban areas.

The report also outlines how broadband is an enabling factor for many of those living in rural Ireland, with one in four saying they would be forced to live in a city if it was not for broadband access.

The study, Connected Futures: Bridging Ireland's Urban-Rural Divide, also shows that one in every four of the 1.8 million residents in rural Ireland uses the internet at home for work.

150,000 of these choose to avoid commuting some or all of the time because they can do their work over the web.

Half of those interviewed said they would be willing to pay more for access to faster broadband at home, but 81% do not think they should have to.

The findings will provide food for thought for the Government as it continues to plan for the rollout of high speed broadband to every premises in the country.

Recently it emerged that the State's intervention strategy had been delayed by at least six months.

Vodafone is one of a number of companies interested in winning the contract for the rollout of the new network.