The Rural Broadband Scheme has been established to enable a basic broadband service to be provided to individual rural premises which are not capable of obtaining a broadband service from existing internet service providers.

The Scheme has been set up in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture as a measure under the Rural Development Plan using funding from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development.

There are certain criteria for applications under the scheme. These are:

  • You must be living outside of the areas covered by the National Broadband Scheme, click here for details,
  • You must be living in a rural area in accordance with the Rural Development Plan – the following are excluded from the Scheme:
    1. Places within the City Council boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick
    2. Places within the Borough Council boundaries of Kilkenny, Sligo and Wexford
    3. Places within the Town Council boundaries of Athlone, Ballina, Castlebar, Cavan, Dundalk, Ennis, Killarney, Letterkenny, Mallow, Monaghan, Mullingar, Tralee, Tuam and Tullamore.
  • You must be unable to obtain a service from the service providers operating in your area

There will be a number of phases in the Scheme. This first phase involves inviting and processing applications. The Department will be accepting applications from 9 May 2011 until 29 July 2011.

In the second phase of the Scheme, the Department will check with existing internet service providers to see if they are willing to provide a service to the premises concerned. If they are willing to provide a service, we will write to you and ask your permission to be contacted by the companies concerned. If a service can be provided to you in this way, your application under the scheme will be closed.

If none of the companies concerned are prepared to offer you a service, then your application will progress to the next phase in the Scheme. We will write to you at that stage and let you know. We expect the second Phase of the Scheme to be completed by January 2012 at the latest.

In the third phase of the Scheme, the Department will engage an internet service provider who will offer a basic internet service to applicants. We will pass the details of all applicants to this service provider who will contact the applicants and offer them the service. While the Department will be paying part of the cost of the infrastructure necessary to provide a service under this Scheme, the applicant will be responsible for paying the costs of the service itself. This may include some upfront connection costs as well as monthly charges for the service. Further details of the service and related costs will become available once the Service Provider has been selected. You will not be obliged to take up the offer of a service under this Scheme.

We expect roll out of this service to commence in early 2012. The Scheme should be completed by the end of 2012 at the latest.

The easiest way to apply is through our online application facility.



Alternatively you can print an Application form, complete and sign it and send it to us by post.



You can also contact the Department by Phone on 1850 678 100 or on 01-678 2020.

Please note that the actual cost of calls to CallSave 1850 numbers varies depending on your phone company.

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