Northern Ireland: 100% broadband

It seems that BT pulled off the contract in time, and the government now classifies Northern Ireland as 100% broadband, which keeps it well ahead of the Republic and indeed most of the EU in terms of broadband access. Certainly it is good news for the economic infrastructure, but it’s the other softer political factors that are missing. Not least the ongoing democratic deficit. No sign either of the latest government economic plan, three months after it was promised.

Adds: Damien Blake has a Donegal perspective.

  • PS

    Hopefully that’s right but the proof will be in the pudding. We had terrible trouble with BT broadband about a year ago. having been told that we could receive broadband no bother, I went through hours of phone calls to try to get it set up. Eventually when the engineer arrived, he told us that there was never a hope in hell of being able to get broadband in the first place.

    Good news if its true, though.

  • Donnie

    What is their criteria for saying classifying NI as 100% broadband? My take on “100%” would be total, full, complete broadband availability to every householder in Northern Ireland!

    This is quite frankly a load of bollox as I do not have broadband availability!

  • PS

    Just so as i didn’t get too excited, having rushed to to check if my availablity had changed since the north now apparently has 100% broad band access, I was greeted with the following message;

    Check availability – results

    Your exchange has broadband.

    However, despite an engineer’s visit to your premises it has been proved not possible for your telephone line to support broadband service. Please accept our apologies. We are continuing to look for alternative technology solutions and this site will be updated with developments as they happen.

  • I think there may be a tricky clause to this 100%. I recall when they announced this initiative, that there was some kind of condition saying that as long as everyone was within a certain distance of a public access point (ie a public library), this would be accepted as 100%.

  • Was about to say PS, I’d imagine they did it on whether or not they’d enabled all the exchanges. That seems to be the case.

  • PS


    I’m not within 5 miles of a public library. Have I ceased to exist? Do I no longer represent a percentage of the population? Am I a non-person?

    What about the days when the SELB mobile library visits the village which is only 2 miles from my home? Can I get broadband on those days?

    I demand answers!

  • Donnie

    Your exchange has ADSL broadband.

    Our initial test indicates that it is VERY UNLIKELY you will be able to receive 512Kbps or 256Kbps broadband service due to the very long length of your telephone line.

    as long as everyone was within a certain distance of a public access point (ie a public library), this would be accepted as 100%

    Our public library is a van!

  • Any more disgruntled non Broadband clients of BT?

  • When we were getting Eircom Broadband in Letterkenny, we had similar trouble. I’m less than 1km from the exchange, but our line was about ten years old and had since been upgraded to ISDN.

    Eircom couldn’t test the line until ISDN was removed, and couldn’t say with any level of certainty whether it would pass or not (I work in web design, and web-based research, so I needed the ISDN at a minimum!). The offered to add a new line, but again couldn’t say whether it would pass or not.

    One of the engineers put forward the solution- sign up for a new line, if it doesn’t pass, don’t pay and we’ll take it out.

    In the end, we needn’t an extra line anyway, so we were able to get it sorted. And the line did pass, and the broadband’s been great. But it was quite an odyssey getting here!

    I work with one company, whose office is 200yards from the exchange. They have 12 lines, and still had to get a new line run before they could get broadband.

  • Oh, and cheers for the link mick!

  • slug

    We have enjoyed a good broadband service from BT in Co Antrim for now 2 and a half years – starting in summer of 2003. The speed was just upped in the last 6 months. You do sometimes have to check that your within-home lines are decent quality, if you live in a large house with long wire distances. All my friends in the area are now broadband. Great for web cam chats to relatives in far-flung parts.

  • missfitz

    I know that we here (in Rostrevor) signed up to a request for broadband a couple of years ago, as it was unlikely that we would be serviced. It seems to have worked, and there is bb here and in all the outlying areas, to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps those without it may have to agitate for it?

  • larneman

    My Bro in law has just left his job in Belfast to become self employed at home between Ballyclare and Larne (he used to work in a Drawing office- similar to being an architect)

    He cant get ADSL broadband. BT engineers have been out and confirm he is too far from the Ballyclare exchange. It is not the back of beyound and he is 300 yards from a primary school. (One of the govt committments was to have broadband access for schools)

    He was advised by BT to check out satellite broadband. This involves going to another ISP provider and shelling out approx £180 to install a dish, applying for planning permission, and thenm between £19 and £56 a month to get a service.

    Hardly fair or in line with the 100% coverage claim.

  • PS

    Perhaps those without it may have to agitate for it?



    Perhaps you’re right but the point is that the government or BT shouldn’t be going about claiming to have achieved 100% broadband access when in reality they’ve done nothing of the sort.

  • missfitz

    Oh PS, I agree completely on that point…..

    Just making a suggestion from the experience I had with it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You will find that the 100% does not necessarily consist of wired internet access. It merely means “broadband access”. Most people assume this to be through a phone line, but this is not necessarily the case – you can get satellite access.

    This involves going to another ISP provider and shelling out approx £180 to install a dish, applying for planning permission, and thenm between £19 and £56 a month to get a service. Hardly fair or in line with the 100% coverage claim.

    You haven’t been on the internet very long. When I first began using the internet in 1996, it was not yet mainstream and Bill Gates was still calling it a passing fad. At that time, internet access through a dialup phoneline at 28.8K (slightly faster speeds came later) cost £120 per year, plus your phone charges – in my case that was about £30 a month but that’s because I spent short periods of time using it off-peak – I know people who spent triple that amount. At that time, I’d have considered satellite broadband to be the lap of luxury.

  • Comrade Stalin

    PS, your attitude and that of several other people here is of folks who want the moon on a stick. Northern Ireland does have 100% broadband access. It might not be as cheap as you would like out in the sticks, but it’s there – and it isn’t in many other parts of the country.

    Damien B, there is no excuse for Eircom’s crapness – the lines must be made out of pure rust. By right they should be required to replace those lines out of their own pocket. The Irish government really needs to get the telecom industry in Ireland sorted out.

  • missfitz

    Dumb question…..

    If they mean satellite coverage gives 100%, surely everywhere is 100% covered?

  • In the end, you cannae break the laws of physics, Captain, in this case the section marked “Claude Shannon/Information Theory”. If you’re doing DSL, range will always come into it – after some distance, the error cancellation just gets too much to produce a reasonable throughput.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the solution turns out to be a radio system, either souped-up (HSDPA/HSUPA) UMTS, WiMAX, or fact, there’s a nice startup business for someone..

  • Phil

    BT seem to have made this rubbish 100% coverage claim on the grounds that they can subsidise a satellite service. This service will be provided when, and only when an engineer has been out to prove that ADSL cannot be delivered at all. So a getout clause then. The satellite service is not of BT origin, it is rumoured to cost BT over a grand to install. They have to provide broadband, note not ADSL, to everyone in NI at the same price point. Both myself and my dad who lives just outside LISBURN, unfortunately at the end of an aluminium cable, cannot get ADSL, however BT have yet to send any information detailing cost, speed and contract terms to either of us eben though it has been requested. Assuming it works with the usual satellite problems, I do not think I would be interested. All they have to do is fibre to the cabinet, why is this so difficult?

  • Ryan

    Has anyone any idea whats happening with the BT statement of 100% broadband availability? I’m not living in the back of beyond, actually about 5miles from Banbridge and still can’t get broadband!!
    Not all that happy… maybe all the people using this site that still can’t get broadband to get some sort of petition going and get it off to Frank McManus at BT and to our so called Enterprise Minister, Angela Smith..

    Its a joke when they seem to think 100% of the population can get broadband yet so many of us are on here saying we still can’t!

  • Harry

    Eircom are deliberately stalling broadband rollout in the republic because:

    – Investment is too high. They preferred to asset-strip the company for the last few years.
    – VOIP is a threat to their revenue stream; they have no wish to help it, but rather to inhibit.
    – The government is fearful of the threat of an explosion in independent media and loss of media control, so are intentionally limiting it.

    Tony O’Reilly, who’s consortium has just asset-stripped our national telecoms asset, also interferes in the politics of this country with his pro-british newspaper propaganda.

    Tony O’Reilly & Son have taken over one of the main oil and gas prospects off the south west coast of ireland. This was a national asset but now we have the sight of O’Reilly’s son talking about it in press releases and to the media as if it’s a family patrimony to be used as he and those close to him feel like.

    These people are seriously fcuking with our country.

  • Intelligence Insider


    O’Reilly probably knows about the only possible way of reuniting Ireland ( i.e reuniting the South of Ireland with the rest of the United kingdom?)

  • loftholdingswood

    Just to cheer up all you non-broadband neanderthals I am typing here with a rock solid 8meg connection. The Slugger site loads in a split second, what joy. Keep pestering BT as there is really no excuse for them to claim 100% availability and then make no effort to accommodate “awkward” addresses or post-codes.

  • Snuff Box


    That’s nothing compared to my 10 meg connection in Belfast.

    At home (near aghalee) the connection when eventually established is a measley 512. If enough people cause a fuss then lines will be extended.
    It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation however when you’re far away from the connection. On the one hand you want a lot of people to sign up and pester them to get it sorted. However we’re operating a code of silence now about it in case people jump on the broadband bandwagon and slow down the connection!

  • Rory

    Another person here unable to recieve broadband in Northern Ireland yet they have been claiming 100% coverage for months now.

    To claim satellite as a viable alternative to ADSL is bullshit. I have satellite, Ive had it for years, it fucking sucks. Why not claim 100% coverage years ago, why wait until now.

    BT fucking piss me off.

  • I have been chasing up DETI NI over this contract and am in dialogue over the 100% claim.

    I am keen to hear from people who cannot get broadband (Satellite is a cop out and IMO is not a valid substitute). I have a copy of the actual contract (well as much as I could get) and I intend on pressing this to a satisfactory conclusion.

    Please click over to my site at and read the broadband articles, read the contract and leave a message detailing your story. I’m especially keen if you have had a letter from BT categorically stating you cannot have broadband (scan it and send it to me).

    We need to hold Govt to account over this farce and we need to stick together and insist BT deliver what was promised.



  • Eamann

    It has been years since Northern Ireland has boasted of being the first place in the world to have 100% broadband coverage. Surely if you include satellite broadband eveywhere in the world has 100% broadband coverage. It is now 2007 and I still can’t get it. I am the only person in Northern Ireland who can’t get it and if not why hasn’t there been some sort of uproar