Upgrade From The National Broadband Scheme

The National Broadband Scheme (NBS) is an initiative to bring usable Broadband to rural areas in Ireland where there was none before. It’s been up and running for a few years now and the mobile company 3 were awarded the contract to provide services under it. I’ve been on it for a couple of years now and it’s been fine for me up until recently when I started to go over my monthly bandwidth limit. The limit is not too bad at 25GB and should be fine for most people but I’m a web designer!

While moaning to 3 support about kicking me offline without notice, I happened to ask them if there was any way to up the monthly limit and was told they had another package I could switch to called 3 Broadband Pro which was only a little dearer per month at €30.49 but had a 60GB monthly limit, way more then the NBS deal and something even I should find it hard to go over. Turns out this package is one of the best available on the Irish market at the minute in terms of Data Limit V Price as you can see from this comparison.

National Broadband Scheme

So the moral of the story is that many people living in rural areas including me seem unaware that there are better broadband packages than their local NBS offering and that they aren’t tied to just *NBS. Contact your broadband provider today and see if you can get on something a little better.

Leon

*PS – Strangely, 3 told me that once I switched to 3 Broadband Pro, I couldn’t go back to NBS. Not sure why, maybe they were trying to scare me off. The fact that no-one seems to know you can upgrade from NBS maybe suggests that they don’t want people leaving it?

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3 Broadband Data Usage Stats

Despite living and working in Leitrim, I’ve had proper broadband now for about 4 years, either via landline/Eircom or (currently) 3 Mobile Broadband under the National Broadband  Scheme but this week is the first time I’ve ever gone over my monthly data allowance. I only found out when I was unceremoniously and without any warning kicked offline by 3 in the middle of a working day. But only after they let me go over the 25GB limit to the tune of €40!

It’s all prompted me to check out my data usage in more detail and try get some feedback from other users similar to me to see what the average monthly usage might be so I can sign up to the right package.

I guess it’s kinda surprising that I didn’t go over it before now because I’m a Web Designer and I’m online all day. Here’s some of the typical things I do online on a day to day basis:

  • Download/Upload smallish files related to web design,
  • Browse the Internet heavily,
  • Use Email heavily,
  • Use social media apps on the PC & Phone,
  • Watch the odd youTube video,
  • Download the odd video or piece of software,
  • Make a few Skype calls a week,
  • Stream music while having food.

That’s about it. Wouldn’t have thought it was too heavy even for an IT person?

Anyway, I’ve knocked together a spreadsheet below with data taken from the itemised bill for the month in which I went over the limit. It shows the average daily usage, the highest day, lowest day and highlights weekend usage when I’m not at the pc but still on the smart phone a bit.

Feel free to download it and put your own figures in to find your own usage pattern.

Broadband Stats

PS – I’ve asked 3 if I can be switched from the National Broadband Scheme to one with a higher monthly data limit as the NBS can’t be raised from 25GB and I’m waiting to be switched to the ‘3 Broadband Pro’ offering which has a 60GB pm limit and is about €30 pm. Not sure why I wasn’t told about this initially. Seems country folk only get the piss poor service?

Leon

Mobile Phone Masts

Went out to the bank today and spotted a mobile mast being erected in Drumsna, Co. Leitrim no more than 30 feet away from an existing one, same height, same eye sore. The existing one used to power my O2 broadband and phone 3G connection before we moved from Drumsna so I’m guessing this one is for Vodafone, Meteor, etc or maybe part of the 3 broadband rollout.

Seems a bit strange that existing masts can’t be used by multiple carriers the same way Eircom have been forced to share their infrastructure? Would save a bit of money, time and eyesore?

Leon.

3 Wins National Broadband Scheme Tender

Was a bit shocked to hear about this today untill I learned that the National Broadband Scheme seems to mainly exist to provide broadband to rural areas. Eircom might have been the favorite but they’ve already demonstrated they can’t serve rural communities. Only trouble with 3 is their customer service which nearly drove me mad the last time I was with them. Their support is completely outsourced to somewhere in India and unless they get their act together then I’m still not hopeful. Oh and at the minute I can’t get a 3 signal here either but maybe that will change..