Oh how we all dream of an affordable broadband service where we can get speeds of 100Mbs, 200Mbs, or even 1Gbs, and if you live in a large city you might just have access to one of those, but if you live in most of rural Ireland this is only a dream currently – or is it?

This struggle has been real for the last 10+ years, going from one provider to the next regularly as either the cost goes up or the service becomes worse…

It’s not all been bad, we had a great provider when we lived in Roscommon – Westnet based in Castlebar provided real Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) before we moved to the Roscommon/Sligo border.

They were great and very helpful and the sales team was only ever a phone call away, they even arranged for a new pole to be put up so the cable ran to the house correctly. Even rang to see if they could supply a service to our new address… Sadly they couldn’t…

And our troubles started all over again – chasing providers and quality service as there are no fibre cables here and probably won’t be until 2026!

Our first attempt was ‘line of sight’ broadband using a dish communicating with a mast near Kesh Caves, this proved unachievable as there was a series of electricity pylons hindering/interrupting the signal… This was dead in the airwaves while the engineer was still beside our chimney.

Then trying Eir first, who promised 25Mbs on their fixed line broadband. This was installed one morning and by the afternoon after the engineer recommended “You cancel this, I’m hardly able to get a ping here…” It was canceled by the close of business…

I then tried Eir mobile broadband, which was adequate achieving speeds of 10 – 15Mbs 90% of the time, (after the modem device was placed in the loft), then the ‘welcome’ price expired, which also coincided with slower speeds… 🤔

Now achieving 5 – 10Mbs and paying twice as much as I was before it was time to start the search again, stumbling on satellite broadband – the company BigBlu. Though I had 4 or so months left on my contract with Eir I thought what harm let’s send a contact form looking for a callback.

Only to find they were strangely “not accepting new customers”.

Fast forward a couple of months, and the search for a replacement started again, determined to see if satellite broadband was the answer I found the above company had changed its name and was back accepting new customers…

Bosh! Signed up for their mid-priced package – the engineer called and fitted a dish the size of a Pacific Island country to the side of the house, but at least we had super fast broadband – for a while this was great but then after 10 months or so it all went a bit crazy and we only got the fast speeds when the sun shone, there was no wind, no rain, no clouds, no snow, no fog, and it was between the hours of 10 pm & 4 am.

This wasn’t great, so I contacted National Broadband Ireland again and they confirmed again we’re in an “Amber Area”, meaning we’re not a commercially viable area and it would be the end of 2025 before we’d get fibre broadband, and that this was an optimistic prediction.

Another visit to the Google search engine “broadband providers near me” =

Couldn’t believe my luck, 5G? Clicked on the link, and checked my area, and it was confirmed we had 5G coverage! I was beyond super-excited signed up to the offer price and waited for the engineer to arrive with the external antenna.

Still, as the engineer was here I was convinced he’d say ‘sorry mate’, but he went about his business and installed a fully functioning 5G service, my prayers were answered! I had a service of between 80 – 120Mbs – Unbelievable Jeff!

The service was great, not an issue… enough bandwidth and speed to communicate with the moon, as the house still looked like a local branch of NASA, with the satellite dish the size of a small country sitting beside the Sky dish and now an external antenna, to boot.

Now fast forward 6 months and the service starts to drop off once a week, then a couple of times a week – call to Three, an engineer visit is arranged and he comes out and all is good, while he’s here. He says he can’t do anything as “the service is within operational parameters”

But over the next few weeks, the service almost came to a full stop, and I made about 6 calls to the customer service department only to be finally told that the service was “degraded” as the mast serving my house was in the middle of forestry and was no longer able to provide a reliable 5G signal to our property. I guess the mast didn’t grow at the same speed as the trees around it…

Back to the start… No Broadband…

Let’s look again – all options at this point are probably exhausted by now. And as the area where the Three mast was also had Vodafone & Eir (Meteor) masts I’m guessing that mobile broadband was now no longer a viable option for us. So is it back to satellite?

Oh, look another name in the market Brdy, after trying to get a call back for a couple of weeks I gave up on this option… Hey Google, tell me how to get any feckin broadband in rural Ireland… Oh, wait no internet.

How am I writing this I hear you say, well, I have enough for a mobile hotspot at certain times, in certain rooms while sitting in a certain place… Not Ideal and while trying to figure out what is next – I have a lightbulb moment while checking the price of DogeCoin…

Can this be the answer? STARLINK

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by American aerospace company SpaceX, providing coverage to over 70 countries.

So this has to be continued, I registered this week and there is approximately a 2-week lead time… but with speeds of 100 – 150Mbs and a fairly generous data allowance (subject to fair use) this could well be the answer, it’s not cheap and it is not fair that people who live in the countryside are discriminated against by corporate greed of the mobile & telecoms companies through lack of investment. But that’s for a different day.

We will post an update when we receive our Starlink equipment and again when we’ve got it up and running.