Tips for Choosing a Broadband Provider in the UK
Broadband in the UK is a constantly growing industry, fuelled by advances in technology and a public demand for faster connections at a lower price. Though over 60% of the UK has internet access at home, just over 17 million of us have a broadband connection. As such there is a lot of expansion to achieve if the Government`s Digital Britain plan, which looks to put broadband in every household by 2012, is to succeed. Luckily there are many different broadband providers and many different broadband technologies to make the magic happen. For anyone looking into getting a broadband connection or switching from their existing provider the broadband marketplace can look a little overwhelming. Follow these quick tips and you will hopefully have a broadband connection to suit your needs.
There are three main types of broadband available: ADSL, Cable and Mobile Broadband. ADSL is widely available because it uses existing BT telephone lines, whilst Cable Broadband is only available in cabled areas which cover just over half of UK residences. Mobile broadband shirks landlines altogether and uses 3G mobile telecommunications networks for a truly wireless broadband experience. Cable broadband offers the fastest connection, though it is only available through Virgin Media in the UK and for quicker speeds you will have to pick more expensive packages. ADSL broadband has a rich range of choice when it comes to providers and BT is currently rolling out faster 20Mbps connection to more and more customers to keep up with high demands. Mobile broadband speeds vary depending on the level of network coverage and also on the hardware you use to connect.
Both landline varieties of broadband usually have 12 month minimum contract lengths, though you can get a little as 1 to 3 months of commitment on certain ADSL packages. Mobile broadband contracts start from 12 months, but a majority are 18 months or more. However, pay as you go mobile broadband with no minimum contract length is available for those who will only be using their connections sporadically.
Costs vary wildly and are usually higher for faster connections which feature additional services like home phone or digital TV packages. ADSL broadband providers usually do not charge for connection, whilst Cable broadband will often have some set up charge for new customers. ADSL, Cable and Mobile broadband providers usually include equipment for free. For landline broadband you should expect to get a free wireless router which will let you broadcast your broadband connection around your home so that you do not have wires running all over the place. Different providers will offer different free wireless routers and some may offer faster wireless transfer speeds than others, which may influence your choice. Mobile broadband is completely wireless broadband, using only a USB dongle to connect to the 3G networks. As such many provider will throw in a mobile broadband dongle for free when you sign a fixed length contract. However, pay as you go deals often require that you buy the dongle up front as there is no guarantee of your continued custom to cover the cost of the dongle.