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Broadband, Phone & TV

When picking a broadband plan, speed is not all that matters

When picking a broadband plan, speed is not all that matters
Mark Whelan

Mark Whelan

Staff Writer

When choosing a broadband provider, speed matters, but it's not the only thing that matters! We take a look at everything you should consider when picking the perfect broadband plan.

Have you seen Virgin Media’s latest ad campaign? The chances are you have, the ads are unmissable!

There’s the distinctive red and white colour scheme, the iconic logo that has appeared on everything from cola cans to airplanes and there’s a pretty bold statement on the ads too; that Virgin Media is the supplier of Ireland’s “fastest broadband”.

It’s a big claim but it is supported by the world’s leader in broadband testing, Ookla. So, nice job, Virgin Media!

When it comes to choosing a broadband provider, many people simply look for the fastest speed available. And while speed matters hugely, it’s not the only thing to consider when selecting a plan.

Factors such as availability in your area, data limit, contract length, customer service, and of course, price, may all have an influence on your overall experience with a provider.

We know that this is a lot to consider, so here’s a quick round-up of the things other than speed that you should consider when choosing a broadband provider.


While Virgin Media’s 360 Mbps plan will have speed-junkies very excited, it’s only available to about 750,000 households across Ireland’s urban areas. This is no small number, but it’s not available to everyone.

If Branson’s broadband isn’t available in your area, there might still be some very good options for you.

Vodafone, Pure Telecom, Sky and eir all offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps these days, and that should be more than adequate for families that love nothing better than streaming Netflix and Snapchatting with friends long into the night.

While most of the country can avail of these great options, Ireland still has its fair share of rural blackspots, made up of households that are stuck with older copper-wire connections, which may only be able to generate speeds up to 2 Mbps.

And then there are others with no options whatsoever.

The plight of Ireland’s rural blackspots has not been helped this week, with the news that the National Broadband Plan has suffered a further delay.

You can see a simple list of the providers that are available in your area by visiting our Compare Broadband Plans page and refining your results.

Data limit

It’s really important to know if your plan includes a data limit. If it does, you could be hit with some painful penalties for exceeding it.

The good news is that, in recognition of how reliant we are on the online world these days, the vast majority of broadband plans now come with unlimited data as standard so there’s no need to be stressing over data limits these days.

If you don’t have unlimited data now, ask you provider to upgrade you or you may need to switch.

Contract length

Some people in Ireland suffer from chronic contract commitment issues, I know I’m one of them!

The majority of broadband plans available at the moment require you to sign up for 18 months.

Sky is an exception, only requiring a one-year commitment. Vodafone and Virgin Media also offer 12-month options, but you may miss out on discounts by going for this option.

Don’t be afraid to take the plunge! And remember you have a cooling-off period to make sure everything's ok.

Customer service

No two people have exactly the same experience with their provider’s customer service teams, so it’ll be a matter of opinion and past interactions that will determine which company you think offers the best service.

If you feel that you’re not getting the service that you deserve, don’t hesitate to tell your provider that you might consider switching, or worse, tweeting, if they don’t improve.

But remember to be nice, broadband customer care teams have feelings too!


One thing that obviously can’t be ignored when hooking up with a new broadband provider is how much it’s going to cost you.

One key piece of advice here is to not pay for something you don’t want or aren’t going to use.

Here’s a neat breakdown of how prices compare:


Top Speed

Unlimited data?

Contract length



100 Mb


18 months

€30 (3 mths) / €45

Virgin Media

360 Mb


18 months

€30 (4 mths) / €60


100 Mb


12 months

€45 (12 mths) / €55

Pure Telecom

100 Mb


18 months



100 Mb


18 months


Get it right!

Your broadband connection is something you’ll probably use every day, and often for really important things like communicating with family, managing your bank account and watching the new episode of Game of Thrones.

So, make sure you get the plan that’s right for you! Consider everything from speed and price to contract length and customer service.

You can easily sign up to a new broadband plan on our Compare Broadband Plans page now. Happy browsing!


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