Broadband and landlines

Broadband

Costs for broadband vary depending on the type of service you choose. Before you pick a provider, think about how you usually use the internet – Are you a heavy internet user or do you only use it occasionally? Do you download a lot of films or music or do a lot gaming online?  If you are a very heavy internet user you may need faster broadband. You could also go over your flat fee monthly allowance and this could cost you a lot more. Be sure to ask before signing up.

Questions to ask before you sign up with any broadband provider

  • What kind of broadband is available in your area?
  • Is there a once-off installation fee or set up charge?
  • What equipment, such as a modem, is included in the package?
  • Is there a line rental fee?
  • If it’s a mobile broadband connection, can you roam with it – use it outside Ireland – and what are the fees?
  • Is there a download or upload limit, and what is the cost if you go over the limit?
  • Do you need a telephone line?
  • If you want to get broadband through your telephone line, will they test your line first to see what speeds you can get?
  • Can you switch if you are in arrears with another provider?
  • Will broadband interfere with any other service on your telephone line, like a monitored alarm or satellite TV?
  • Is there a contract for a set period – for example 12 months – or is there an ongoing contract? Are there charges if you cancel?
  • Can you can switch between different tariff options with no penalty for switching?

Think about which type of pricing model will suit you best: A flat fee per month or a pay-as-you-use tariff.

Consider other factors that may be important to you, such as speed and performance. For example, the “contention ratio” i.e. how many people are sharing your connection. Remember, if a broadband provider has tested your line and tells you that you can get a certain broadband speed, ask them how the speed is affected by their contention ratio.

The contract

Usually, you sign up for a minimum period, often a year. It’s important to check what the contract period is, and what exactly you are committing to, before you sign up. If you already have a broadband provider, check your current contract before switching provider or switching to a different package with the same provider – you might be charged if you decide to cancel your contract early.  Remember to shop around – some suppliers offer broadband without having to sign up to a contract.

Equipment

You will usually be supplied with any equipment needed to access broadband, like a modem or router, a satellite dish or a laptop dongle, depending on the kind of service you sign up for. Be sure to ask before you sign up to a service, and make sure it includes all the equipment you will need.

Landlines

As landlines are used less and less, they are often only offered with packages including broadband, and sometimes also TV. So you might consider combining or “bundling” these services with the one supplier. You can use the comparisons on the Commission for Communications Regulation’s (‘ComReg’) website to help you work out the costs of different options.

Switching landline

Switching your home phone provider is easy – it involves signing a consent form, or confirming your consent over the phone. Remember, if you give your consent to switching over the phone then this commits you to a contract, in the same way as if you had signed a consent form. So make sure you read the detail of the contract and the terms and conditions when you get a copy – all information about the contract must be given to you in writing.

If you don’t like any of the terms and conditions, you will usually have a period of 14 days to cancel the contract – this is called the “cooling-off” period. So if you do want to cancel, do it quickly or you could get stuck in a long-term contract. Remember that there is no physical work involved in switching – nobody has to call at your house.

Shop around for the landline package that best suits your needs – but remember that price is not the only factor in choosing a landline. You should also consider:

  • The contract period:Check the length of the contract and the terms and conditions. Always check your existing contract before switching tariff plans or operators, as penalties can apply.
  • The customer service – Check if they have a customer service charter on their website, and ring their helpline to see how quickly you might be dealt with if you need help after signing-up. Ask friends or family how they find the service.
  • Billing and payment options – Check what payment options are offered. Can you only pay by direct debit or can you pay in other ways? Are there discounts for paying by direct debit or paying your bills online?
  • Conditions for ‘free’ minutes – If free minutes are included, ask what conditions apply – for example, can you use your free minutes to call any other landline or mobile networks?

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