Connecting to the internet
There are many different options for accessing the internet from your home.
Common methods of Internet access by users include:
- Dial-up with a computer modem via a telephone line
- Broadband over designated cables
- Wireless connections using Wi-Fi, satellite and mobile phone technology.
The option you choose can depend on cost, connection speed, quality of connection and whether a service is available in your area.
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) provides information on internet services on Comreg's website.
Internet service providers
Internet service providers are regulated by Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). You can find a internet service providers authorised to operate in Ireland on ComRegs website. Some internet service providers can also provide phone and television services. You can subscribe to a different service provider for internet and telephone purposes if you wish. Shop around for the best package that meets your needs.
ComReg's website allows consumers to compare charges for internet services and combined packages across all operators. The site assists consumers to select the optimum package, based on their individual usage.
Broadband is a term for high speed internet access. Broadband allows users to access bigger amounts of data such as large video files. The benefit of broadband is its speed and that it is always on.
There are a number of broadband technologies that enable you to access the internet quickly. Digital subscriber line (DSL), fibre-optic, cable, mobile and satellite are all technologies that provide high speed access to the internet.
There are many different providers of Broadband and each will have a different package for the provision of services. Most offer a flat rate which means that you will be charged the same for provision of services every month. There may be a limit on the amount you can download. Make sure that you are happy with these limits when you subscribe to the service.
Broadband speed is measured in Mb (megabits) per second. Download refers to the speed with which you can receive content from the Internet. Upload refers to the speed with which you can send content.
Most people download much more than they upload, therefore Broadband download speeds are always set to be faster than upload speeds.
June 2015, the government announced the National Broadband Plan. This is a State intervention to make broadband available nationally because commercial operators have made it clear that there are large parts of the country that they cannot make high speed broadband services available commercially.
While the internet can be a source of knowledge and entertainment for children, there also can be dangers for children. The Office for Internet Safety (OIS) was established in March 2008 within the Department of Justice and Equality to promote internet safety. Information and advice on internet safety is available on its website internetsafety.ie
Information on the safe use of the internet is available at makeitsecure.org.
A service called hotline.ie, which is run by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI), was setup to provide an anonymous reporting service for members of the public who want to report suspected illegal content which they have encountered on the Internet. Hotline.ie's primary aim is to combat child pornography, however, other forms of illegal content and activities on the Internet may be reported using this service. Their website also provides safety advice for parents and children on using the internet.
Consumer contracts are protected by the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, 1980. If you have a contract with a service supplier you can expect that:
- The supplier has the necessary skill to provide the service
- The service will be provided with proper care and diligence
- The materials used will be sound and that goods supplied with the service will be of merchantable quality
You can read more about your rights when you buy a service.
Making a complaint
If you are unhappy with any aspect of your internet service you should, in the first instance make this known to the service provider. This document tells you how to complain. If you have exhausted the customer complaints mechanism of the service provider and are still dissatisfied you can contact ComReg who may, depending on the complaint, be able to help you.
You can read more about making complaints about your service provider.
A comparison of the costs of Broadband plans from the various providers is available from ComReg.
Rates for dial-up lines are available from internet service providers.
Where to apply
Contact your chosen internet service provider and they will explain what you need to do to get connected to the internet from your home.