The cost of broadband in the Republic is the second highest in the EU, according to an analysis by the European Commission.
The figures show Irish consumers pay an average of €69.20 per month. Only Belgians pay more, where it is €69.90 per month. The cheapest location for broadband is Poland, where it costs €20.80 per month.
The figures are based on data from October 2015 and cover the cost of internet access, fixed telephones and television bundles.
The Government’s rural broadband plan has been much publicised recently, and Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has said it will be June 2017 before a contract is signed with a company.
The Department of Regional Development is to establish a series of county or regional broadband taskforces which will interface with local agencies to fast-track the Government’s broadband plan.
These taskforces will develop strategies to ensure that planning permissions and road openings can be processed quickly and to identify priority areas and regional hubs.
A national mobile phone and broadband taskforce is also to be established to consider more immediate measures to alleviate broadband and mobile phone service “deficits” which are frustrating communities and businesses across rural Ireland.
“This process is already commenced and is well under way and I expect interested companies to be shortlisted as bidders in the next month,” said Mr Naughten.
“I intend to have a contract or contracts signed by June 2017. The network will be expected to serve at least 30 per cent of the premises in Ireland who cannot currently get access to high-speed services.”
The Department of Communications announced a six-month delay to the plan last month, citing the complexity of the tender, meaning that the scheme will now not be in place until at least 2022.