How To Choose Broadband In A World Of Confusion?


Today the marketing in the world is confusing. It is really difficult to find the best way to choose products and services. In the broadband arena it is very difficult. The situation has been improved by new Advertising Standards Agency and Ofcom regulations, which mean that broadband speeds have to be advertised a bit more transparently than they were in the past. Nonetheless, it is really difficult to know how to choose a broadband provider, and a package from the provider that you do choose. In this article we will take a quick look at the best way to choose a provider, so that you don’t get frustrated by your connection speed and your connection cost.

Have A Plan

It is important that you have a plan and strategy behind getting your connection. Sometimes people just take the first offer they see directly online. This is not the way to do it. You want to get the best connection you can don’t you? You want to have a connection that does what you want it to do don’t you? The reality is that not all connections are built equal. Some connections are much better than others. Some are right for heavy consumers of the Internet. Some are right for light consumers. You have to ensure that you do get the right kind of package for your requirements.

Understanding Speed

The speed of your broadband will no doubt be an important factor in your decision. Broadband speed varies between different technologies. We have ADSL broadband with speeds that vary from up to 8 Mb per second up to 24 Mb per second. We have mobile broadband, which is only really good for lighter consumers and those that live in areas with good mobile broadband coverage. We have fibre-optic broadband that is available in around 60% of UK homes, and offers some of the best speeds available. We have Wireless Broadband 3 now. What you will be able to get will be dependent on where you live, that is for sure. In rural, remote locations many people are left frustrated by poor Internet speeds. If you are one of those then hard luck! There isn’t a lot you can do about it. You could buy satellite broadband, but that could also break the bank; it is expensive! The postcode lottery is a frustrating one unless you live in an area with good connection speeds. To find out what speeds are available in your area it is a good idea to jump onto uSwitch and find out what speeds people have actually been achieving in your area. Sure, broadband comparison sites provide you with the package details of many different providers. You may be able to find out that you can get fibre-optic broadband, and the up to speed you can get through ADSL on the sites. However, when people do speed tests on their services this data goes into a database. You can therefore see the results of the connection speeds people are actually attaining. You have to take the results with a pinch of salt, because some of the connections will have been done wired, some wirelessly, and some with connection issues. The speed that you acquire will probably be at least 6 Mb per second. This will provide you with enough speed for a couple of people to stream high-definition movies simultaneously. If you are unable to get decent speeds then you will have to manage the Internet activities you do. For example, you might want to be turning your streaming activities to standard definition, sacrificing the quality of the audio and visual components in order to get better, smoother stream performance.

Data Allowances

It is vital that you understand the data allowance that you have on your package. If you are on fixed broadband it could be anywhere from 2 GB per month up to totally unlimited broadband. Who these days doesn’t need unlimited broadband? The reality is that some of us can get by with 10 or 20 GB of data. It really depends on what we do. With more of the activities that we do going through the Internet these days, such as Internet TV and on demand TV, we need to ensure that we do have enough data and don’t run out during the month. We can have pretty hefty charges hit us if we do run out of Internet data, which is obviously something we want to avoid. Generally, Internet service providers will split consumers into light, medium and heavy profiles. If you are a light consumer you will probably get away with 20 GB of data, perhaps even 10. If you are a medium consumer then you will probably be looking at a data allowance of 20 to 40 GB; or thereabouts. If you are a heavy consumer then you will probably need more than 40 GB and possibly unlimited broadband. High-definition movie streams can consume 4-5 GB of data. Therefore, if you are an avid movie watcher online then you will need a heavy package.

Contract Length

Obviously you don’t want to go for a contract that will impact on your financial affairs after you leave your current residence. If you are in a max 12-month tenancy contract you don’t want to go for 24 or 36 month contracts. You will want to ensure that you get a contract that is appropriate for your length of stay in your location. If you are a student then you may be able to benefit from student broadband from companies such as Virgin. These packages provide the opportunity to tap into contract lengths that are as short as nine months. They can save you some money.

Understand Your Activities

It’s important that you understand your activities to ensure you get the right contract. Don’t get fooled into thinking that all contracts are the same, because they are definitely not. By understanding what you do online, and how much data you consume, you will be able to get a more appropriate package for your requirements. You can tap into broadband usage calculators online in order to get the estimates of your usage. These can provide you with an estimate of how much data you will consume. In addition, there are applications that track the amount of data that you use. Alternatively, you may be able to get the information through your router if you already have a broadband connection. Think about all of the devices that will be using your connection. Which other people will be using your connection? What will they be doing? Will they be using multiple devices to do those activities? By taking a comprehensive approach to the analysis of your broadband needs you will get a better solution.

Safety Online

The Internet world is a wonderful place to be. You can be more entertained than ever before. However, we have to understand the limitations of broadband and also the dangers. If you get the wrong package you will be limited in what you can do. If you don’t protect those in your home from the potential dangers of the Internet then you could end up with a nightmare scenario. Take a responsible approach to the use of broadband in your home, and ensure that your family members understand what they should and shouldn’t be doing online. Read articles on maintaining privacy, avoiding bullying and generally staying safe online. About Author: Phil Turner wasn’t familiar with Wireless Broadband 3 until he visited this page on the uSwitch website

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