Frequently Asked Questions


The National Broadband Scheme (NBS) has now expired – for information on the Government's National Broadband Plan (NBP) click here​​



 

No of EDs Addressed by NBS
CountyCounty
Carlow6Longford11
Cavan45Louth1
Clare49Mayo112
Cork96Meath18
Donegal52Monaghan29
Dublin0Offaly15
Galway111Roscommon40
Kerry85Sligo28
Kildare11Tipperary50
Kilkenny33Waterford31
Laois28Westmeath26
Leitrim45Wexford12
Limerick57Wicklow37



What product did the NBS offer?

NBS MOBILE WIRELESS SERVICE
 
Three, the NBS Service Provider, has extended its network to provide mobile wireless broadband services into the NBS Coverage Area.

At the outset of the Scheme, the mobile broadband service (I-HSPA) had a minimum download speed of 1.2Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 200kpbs, subject to contention. Relevant product specifications are summarised below.

Initial NBS Service Specifications

Mobile Wireless (I-HSPA) Min (at cell edge)Max (at cell centre)
Download Speed 1.2Mbps5Mbps
Upload Speed 200Kbps1.8Mbps
Maximum contention ratio36:1
Round-trip latency120ms
Monthly Data Cap (uncharged)15GB - (12GB download, 3GB upload)



Following the contractual upgrade of the mobile broadband service which took place in July 2010, the minimum download speed increased to 1.6Mbps and the minimum upload speed increased to 1.2Mbps, subject to contention. Relevant product specifications are summarised below.

NBS Service Specifications - Upgraded in July 2010

Mobile Wireless (I-HSPA)Min (at cell edge)Max (at cell centre)
Download Speed 1.6Mbps6.8Mbps
Upload Speed 1.2Mbps4Mbps
Maximum contention ratio22:1
Round-trip latency100ms
Monthly Data Cap (uncharged)25GB - (20GB download, 5GB upload)

 

Following the final contractual upgrade which took place in October 2012, the minimum download speed increased to 2.3Mbps and the minimum upload speed increased to 1.4Mbps, subject to contention. Relevant product specifications are summarised below:

Current NBS Service Specifications - Upgraded in October 2012

Mobile Wireless (I-HSPA) Min (at cell edge)Max (at cell centre)
Download Speed 2.3Mbps10.4Mbps
Upload Speed 1.4Mbps4.8Mbps
Maximum contention ratio18:1
Round-trip latency100ms
Monthly Data Cap (uncharged)40GB - (30GB download, 10GB upload)



NBS SATELLITE SERVICE

In recognition of the fact that some premises are very costly and difficult to reach, in a very limited number of cases, 3 makes available a satellite product. A maximum of 5% of fixed residences and businesses in the NBS Coverage Area may be provided with a service using satellite. It is a matter for 3 to decide where a satellite solution is deployed for technical reasons, within the specified limits.

At the outset of the Scheme, the NBS satellite service specifications were:

Satellite
Download Speed 1Mbps
Upload Speed 128kbps
Maximum contention ratio48:1
Round-trip latency 800ms
Data Cap (uncharged)11GB (10GB download, 1GB upload)

Following the contractual upgrade in July 2012, the NBS satellite service offers speeds of 3.6Mbps download and 384kbps upload, subject to contention.

Current NBS Satellite Service Specifications -Upgraded in July 2012

Satellite
Download Speed 3.6Mbps
Upload Speed384kbps
Maximum contention ratio48:1
Round-trip latency 800ms
Data Cap per 4 week sliding window (uncharged)11GB (used between upload & download)


What is contention and how could it affect the NBS service?

What is the NBS required to deliver in terms of Download and Upload speeds?

As part of the NBS, 3 is committed to providing NBS subscribers with a terrestrial broadband service that is currently capable of delivering download speeds of at least 2.3Mbps and upload speeds of at least 1.4Mbps, referred to as the minimum specification. For some subscribers, such as those located close to the serving site and having an unobstructed view of the serving site, speeds greater than the minimum specification can be achieved. Using the current technology, a maximum download speed of 10.4Mbps and a maximum upload speed of 4.8Mbps can be achieved.

What impact does contention have on the user experience?

Like most broadband services, the NBS service is impacted by contention. In simple terms, contention applies when there are many users availing of the service from the same serving cell at the same time. Under the NBS contract, the maximum contention that can apply is 18:1. This equates to 18 concurrent users sharing a 2.3Mbps downstream service. NBS subscribers using the service during periods of high contention may experience decreased download and upload speeds.

What impact can multiple devices connected via a switch/hub/router have on the user experience?

In addition to contention as previously described, having multiple devices connected via a switch/hub/router that uses a single NBS subscription may also result in the user experiencing decreased performance. This is because all of the connected devices are competing for bandwidth across just one single connection. As a result, if all connected devices are active at the same time, the available bandwidth is shared across all devices. Therefore performance for each device is reduced by a factor that is equal to the number of connected devices.

What other factors might impact on the user experience resulting in poor performance?

When examining speeds, it is very important for individuals to consider that their own device is running optimally and virus free. 3 recommends that when users test speeds that the only thing running on the PC/Laptop/MAC is the Internet. No virus/windows updates or other background applications should be running at the same time. In addition to the above, NBS subscribers availing of the service using a repeater (or external antenna) should ensure that the repeater is installed in accordance with the instructions provided or as originally installed by one of our engineers.

How much does the NBS service cost?

The cost is €20.32 per month (including VAT), with a maximum once-off connection fee of €40.49 (excluding VAT). This includes the cost of any necessary customer premises equipment.

The mobile and satellite products have been upgraded to higher specifications during the contract term without any increase in the monthly recurring charge.

How does the Department monitor the NBS service performance?

Under the NBS contract, 3 is required to deliver guaranteed service standards with respect to:

  •  Product Speeds
  •  Contention Ratio
  •  Customer Interface
  •  Wholesale Service
  •  Reporting
  •  Marketing

3's NBS solution has been tailored to deliver the guaranteed NBS product specification to all NBS areas. The NBS network comprises of a large number of sites. This ensures that a deep coverage is provided using the latest Internet High Speed Packet Access (I-HSPA) technology. This solution reduces the number of customers receiving service from a single site. The use of the latest technology means that the product received by NBS customers meets the NBS quality requirements. Where required, 3 deploys devices to boost signal strength at customer premises to ensure guaranteed service levels.

The Department actively monitors performance of the infrastructure, service availability, service delivery and customer experience. We also monitor overall compliance with contractual obligations by 3 on a monthly basis throughout the contract term.

Upgrades of the network and its capacity are automatically triggered at contractually agreed levels of traffic. This ensures that the quality of the broadband service is maintained and enhanced over the period of the contract.

Additionally, the NBS contract imposes a service credit regime on 3. They face significant consequences in the event of proven failure to meet the contractually binding service or customer service obligations.

3's mobile wireless broadband solution is future-proofed and there is a strong evolution path for I-HSPA technology to Long Term Evolution ("LTE"). We expect this to significantly enhance  the quality and speed of mobile broadband.

What are the Terms and Conditions for the NSB service?

The Terms and Conditions for NBS customers are available on 3's website at www.three.ie/pdf/NBS_smallprint.pdf . They detail all legal aspects of their contract with 3 along with the NBS Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA outlines NBS service specifications and expected support levels.

What can I do if I am a NBS customer and I am experiencing problems with my NBS broadband service?

Any NBS customer experiencing problems with the NBS service should contact "3", the NBS Service Provider:

Phone - 1913 (free of charge)

Email - nbssupport@three.ie 

By post - 3 Customer Services, Hutchison 3G Ireland Ltd, PO Box 333, Dublin 2, Ireland.

What can I do if I am not a NBS customer and I am experiencing problems with my broadband service?

Any non-NBS customers experiencing problems with their broadband service should contact their service provider to seek resolution.

In cases where customers have exhausted the service provider's complaint handling procedures, they can contact the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, for further assistance and guidance.

Phone - 1890 229 668

Online at http://www.askcomreg.ie/

or email Consumerline@comreg.ie.