Rural Broadband Scheme – Welcome news

Rural Broadband Scheme – Welcome news for rural dwellers unable to currently obtain service

Application Date Fast Approaching

The Rural Broadband Scheme has been launched by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. This Scheme, which is an EU funded measure under the Rural Development Programme in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, is designed to make a basic broadband service available to premises in rural locations which are not served by existing internet service providers.

If you are looking for a broadband service, you should first check the names of the internet service providers operating in your county on the Callcosts website – www.callcosts.ie and approach these to obtain a service.

You can also check if you are living in an area covered by the National Broadband Scheme (NBS) on the NBS website, www.three.ie/nbs. If you live in an NBS area, then you are guaranteed to be offered a service by 3, the NBS internet service provider.

The Rural Broadband Scheme is intended for people who live outside of the areas covered by the NBS and who are unable to obtain a broadband service from providers operating in their area. The following cities and towns are excluded from the RBS: Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Dundalk, Sligo, Letterkenny, Athlone, Tullamore, Mullingar, Cavan, Ennis, Kilkenny, Mallow, Monaghan, Tuam, Wexford, Ballina, Castlebar, Tralee and Killarney.

Ireland is still lagging well behind our European neighbours in terms of households with broadband access. Sweden shows the highest at 79.5%, with Ireland at 53.7%, which falls below the EU27 average.

Full details of the Scheme can be found by visiting the website of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources www.dcenr.ie , and follow the links for the Rural Broadband Scheme, where you can apply quickly and easily online. You can also apply by post using the application form on the website or by phone, call the RBS on 1850 678 100 or 01 678 2020.

Please note that the closing date for applications is 29th July 2011.