Unpacking the NBI: Ireland's Rural Broadband Rollout

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Image of the NBI Ireland logo next to a house and wifi signals

If you have poor internet, then the NBI Ireland is something you should keep an eye on. With speeds starting at 500Mbps, the NBI rollout is set to revolutionize internet access in rural areas. As Ireland's ambitious broadband initiative, the NBI aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure every household enjoys reliable connectivity. What exactly is this, and how can you enrol? Read our full NBI guide to find out more!

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What Is NBI Ireland?

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As is often the way, the deployment of advanced technologies is usually undertaken in areas of high population density first. This can create a large degree of developmental disparity and inequality between urban and rural regions, particularly when it comes to internet services.

The National Broadband Ireland (NBI), also known as the National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to remedy that by creating a dedicated rural broadband network. When complete, this network will have laid around 146,000 kilometres of fibre cable, erecting roughly 1.5 million poles, and boosting areas that typically endure slow internet speeds of under 30Mbps, to speeds guaranteed to exceed 500Mbps… just a small upgrade then.

How Will the Deployment of the NBI Be Carried Out?

Naturally, with such an expansive project, there are many steps involved before you are able to avail of NBI services in your home. Having launched in 2020, and targeted to complete in 2027, the below steps could take a little time.

  • Survey of Duct Networks
    NBI must survey existing duct networks
    and poles to assess their validity within future deployment plans

  • Approval from Local Authority
    NBI must seek the approval from the local authority
    relating to how and where any infrastructure will be installed, its effects etc

  • Preparing Infrastructure
    Once approval is gained, the task of readying their infrastructure begins. This includes raising poles, laying fibre, and more

  • Ordering a Connection
    Once the network is completed, you can order a connection through one of the registered NBI service providers. NBI themselves are a wholesaler, meaning that they don’t sell their product to the public directly

  • Installation
    After your order has been accepted, NBI will arrange an installation with you on behalf of your provider. This could be through overhead wires or existing duct networks. The installation can take anywhere from one hour to two days depending on the nature of the site, and a small NBI network box will be attached to your house, through which your modem will receive its signal

Once achieved, this will result in the connection (or connection availability) of up to 1.1 million people, 54,000 farms, 554,000 premises, 44 small businesses and 679 schools, mostly within the 23% of the country deemed to be in connection dark spots. The value of this goes without saying, enabling greater and more reliable connectivity to the world, smoother business running, faster access to learning resources, or simply quicker downloads on Netflix.

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What Type of Internet Will the NBI Rollout Install?

As you may have guessed by this point, National Broadband Ireland is using fibre technology to bring superfast speeds to Irish homes. In order to achieve minimum speeds of 500 Mbps, the NBI rollout is focusing on providing FTTH (Fibre To The Home/House) rather than FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet/Box) connections. This means that your broadband will be delivered directly to your home via a full-fibre connection, rather than a part-fibre connection using copper wires. This enables you to access superfast speeds without significant quality variances or speed drops.

Here are a few further reasons why fibre is being used over other methods such as SIRO or ADSL:

  • Widespread Technology
    Most modern suppliers offer fibre in some form. This means that the market will be more competitive, and various options related to product, quality and service exist.

  • Futureproof
    While normal domestic speeds usually reach up to 1 Gbps, fibre has the potential to deliver speeds easily exceeding 44 Tbps. This means that though households and traditional technology can't access those lightning-fast speeds yet, in the near future fibre is set to grow significantly.

  • Far faster than ADSL
    Fibre speeds are on average ten times faster than copper-based ADSL connections

With the increasing scarcity of traditional ADSL connections, it is starting to look like those who prefer to keep a fixed-line connection rather than mobile broadband or WiFi dongle with 5G integration or satellite broadband are likely to make the jump to fibre sooner or later, just another reason to see if you can opt into the NBI rollout before your internet connection is left lagging behind.

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How Is the NBI Rollout Going?

We would all love to get faster internet as soon as possible, and the NBI rollout is set to be a great success in satisfying this desire. Currently, the NBI rollout is divided into 227 deployment areas, 33 of which so far are rolled out. To get check where the NBI rollout is up to in your area, you can view this NBI rollout map, which shows you exactly what developmental or deployment stage each county is at.

Don’t See Your Area on the National Broadband Ireland Plan?

If you don’t see your area on the NBI Ireland plan, this means that your home most likely already receives speeds exceeding 30Mbps, and so is not designated as a low-speed area. If, however, you are able to prove that your home does have a lower speed than this margin, you are able to apply for NBI inclusion through the following process.

image of a globe interconnected by dots
  1. Contact Your Provider
    Contact your current service provider to check why you cannot receive higher speeds.
  2. Look Around at Other Providers
    Enquire with other broadband providers to see if they are able to confirm if high-speed broadband is available through their services.
  3. Raise a Query
    If you confirm that no provider can provide a service speed of over 30Mbps, you may raise a query with the Department of Environment, Climate, and Communications, who will begin an investigation.
  4. Wait for Resolution
    This will be resolved in two ways: either it is confirmed that a provider can supply speeds in excess of 30 Mbps, or they will conclude that your property is a candidate to be included in the NBI rollout.

Further details of how you can complete this process can be attained by making contact with NBI through the use of their dedicated online survey form, or by checking further support details on the ComReg website.

How fast is your internet? Know how fast your internet is important for making sure you're getting what your paying for. It's also useful so you can see why your internet might not be enough for your day to day tasks. IIf your provider fails repeatedly to give you the speeds advertised, you can complain to Comreg. The best way to find out how fast your broadband is is to run a speed test which will give you your download and upload speeds!

Check Out Our Internet Speed Test!

How Can I Sign Up to Be Connected to the NBI Rollout?

image of a form being signed

Head over to the NBI homepage, and select ‘search availability in your area’. A new page will open requesting you to input your Eircode, which will result in a subsequent page informing you if your premises is included in the National Broadband Plan.

All going well, you should be able to either signup for the service if it is available, or if it is in the later stage of development still, you can complete a preorder form.

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Which Providers Are Certified to Sell on the NBI Network?

Though you may not be able to avail of NBI Ireland services depending on where you are located, a large number of broadband providers have already been certified to provide their services on the NBI network. These suppliers vary from some of the big names you will be used to when checking up on and comparing broadband, along with a few smaller and newer names.

Certified NBI Network Retailers
           
Eir Vodafone Sky Pure Telecom Rural Broadband Magnet
Digiweb Regional Broadband ivertex Fibre Broadband Atlantic Broadband MTS Media
Fastcom net1.ie Zintek Blacknight Solutions Airwave Internet Nu Wave Broadband
Rocket Broadband IFA Telecom Roctel Westnet Tipperary Broadband Aptus Fibre
Mynet Eurona Chill WiFi Premier Fibre BBnet Kerry Broadband
Viatel E Broadband IMS Next Gen WiFi Kernet Aptus Fibre

How Can I Contact NBI Ireland?

If you are interested in being included in the NBI rollout, or would otherwise like to discuss aspects of its deployments, then your contact options are few but relatively simple.

NBI Contact Details
Contact Method Contact Details
Call 0818 624 624 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
General Email Queries [email protected]
Media Email Queries [email protected]
Social Media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

You can also write to NBI Ireland at the following address

National Broadband Ireland,
3009 Lake Drive,
Citywest,
Freepost FDN7562,
D24 H6RR

NBI Ireland Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns National Broadband Ireland?

Ownership of NBI is split between shareholders, with a majority of shares being held by Metallah Limited, and the Minster, above which is Granahan McCourt Dublin Limited, and various other holding companies and investors.

How soon will the NBI network be rolled out?

Launched in 2020, NBI Ireland is a seven-year project, aiming to have its infrastructure fully in place and operational by the conclusion of 2027.

What speeds can I expect from NBI?

NBI aims to be future-proof. As such the current minimum speeds will be a minimum of 500 Mbps and a maximum of 2Gbps, with the potential to increase up to 10Gbps in the future.

What is a BCP?

BCPs (Broadband Connection Points) are locations that have been chosen to be included within the National Broadband Plan (NBP) rollout, and ahead of the main NBI rollout, will receive speeds of up to 150 Mbps. These locations include schools, public libraries, community halls, enterprise hubs, tourist locations and more. The aim of the BCPs is to enable communities to access high speeds as soon as possible, without having to wait for the main National Broadband Ireland rollout to catch up with them. To find your local BCP, take a browse through this interactive BCP rollout map.

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