How To Choose Your Broadband Provider
Choosing The Cheapest Broadband Deal
If you only need a basic speed connection and your home is close to a telephone exchange, it makes sense to simply compare broadband deals in your area and go for the most cost-effective one.
But ask yourself a few questions first: are you likely to move home before the contract is up? Do you need a faster connection? Are you in a rural area where standard ADSL broadband is very slow?
Most deals tie you in for a minimum term, so consider your needs before committing.
What’s Broadband All About?
There are two types of broadband: standard and fibre. Standard uses ADSL technology to connect to the country’s existing copper phone network, meaning that it’s available across most of the UK. What you get for this availability is a reduction in speeds, including when downloading.
Standard broadband’s average download speeds are around 10 to 11 megabits per second (Mbps) – this equates to a few minutes downloading your favourite TV show, compared to some fibre options dealing with the same task in seconds. Not a big deal on the surface, but it can lead to potential issues with video calling, sending large email files, online gaming and more, especially if multiple people are online at the same time.
Broadband For Film And TV Buffs
If you enjoy downloading HD movies or if you make extensive use of TV streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you're classified as a heavy user, so it's important to make sure whatever broadband package you sign up for has unlimited downloads. Nearly all packages these days do, but it's a good idea to make sure.
Heavy users may want to consider paying extra for fibre broadband. Fibre is faster than standard broadband and means you'll be able to download movies, music and games a lot quicker so you'll spend less time waiting and buffering and more time enjoying your entertainment of choice.
Is Unlimited Broadband Truly Unlimited?
Fair-usage caps (a set amount of monthly data that if exceeded may result in you being charged) used to be fairly common, essentially turning ‘unlimited’ plans into limited plans with a high data cap.
Today, most providers offer a truly unlimited service, but some smaller providers do still have traffic management policies in place. These slow down certain kinds of internet activities that require a lot of bandwidth once you hit a present limit.
For example, some providers slow down the speed of certain internet activities (such as peer-to-peer downloads) in order for other activities which are time-sensitive (such as online gaming and video calls) to not be interrupted.