A remote Donegal island that is home to just one family has received fiber broadband as part of the Irish Government's National Broadband Plan, prompting a young couple living in Dublin to relocate to the island.
Inis Mhic an Doirn, also known as Rutland Island, which has no running water or regular ferry service, was one of the first offshore islands to receive fiber broadband as part of the new scheme.
Only one house on the small island was occupied full-time prior to the installation of fiber broadband, but a young couple from Dublin has since relocated to the island in the wake of the installation.
Donegal native Ian Blake and his partner Sian Conway had been paying €700 per month to rent a bedroom in Dublin city center when they learned of the development.
Blake's great-grandmother was born on the island and the Donegal native had visited Inis Mhic an Doirn on several occasions as a child, staying in an 18th-century house that his grandfather had bought.
Learning of the new broadband connection, Blake spotted an opportunity to relocate to the Donegal island and asked his employers if he could work remotely.
They gave the green light, as did Conway's employers, and the couple is now living in Blake's grandfather's old terraced house, one of several built in the 1700s in what was once a thriving fishing village but has since seen a steady population decline.
Blake told RTÉ News that the decision to relocate to Inis Mhic an Doirn has given him more headspace and allowed him to save money on the high monthly rent he was paying in Dublin.
"It was just way too much. You don't have any headspace, it's just such hustle and bustle. We moved here and the head is way more clear," Blake told RTÉ.
"You're in touch with nature, swimming, whatever you want. And I have been able because of the broadband, to seamlessly move into island life."
Blake said the new broadband works flawlessly, adding that his bosses prefer when he works from the island because it works so smoothly.
"If it wasn't for the high-speed broadband, I would still be in Dublin, probably tearing my hair out," Blake said in a video for NBI.
Belfast native Laird Dinsmore and his wife were the only full-time residents on the island before Blake and Conway arrived.
Dinsmore told RTÉ that the addition of broadband breathes new life into Inis Mhic an Doirn.
"Broadband has opened it up and it means young people can come here and we're starting to see people, which is great. It brings life.
"It means small offshore communities or neglected communities can have broadband and attract people to the area."
The National Broadband Plan was rolled out in 2020 and has so far connected more than 40,000 rural premises with fiber broadband, roughly 7% of its target of 569,000 premises by 2027.
CEO of National Broadband Ireland Peter Hendrick told RTÉ that he believes the plan will be fully rolled out on schedule, adding that the government is now connecting roughly 4,000 homes a month with broadband.
Hendrick added that National Broadband Ireland plans to have 80% of the 569,000 premises surveyed by the end of 2023.