With the evolution of technology, the internet has become a staple of modern living. We rely on it to perform a variety of activities and tasks, such as reading, streaming series, and films, playing video games, checking the social media, running our businesses, e-banking, and much more. As a matter of fact, our lives just wouldn’t be the same without convenient access to high-speed WiFi at home!
In that light, it’s essential to choose a service provider that offers internet packages suited to your usage, budget, and needs. From types of set-up to speed, data limit, and pricing, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know on home broadband. It will prove helpful in selecting the most adequate home internet solutions.
1. What is Broadband? How Does it Work?
“Broadband” is an umbrella term used in the UK to refer to high-speed internet connections. It’s much faster and more responsive than the previous “narrowband”, which used to be the standard access connection up until the early 2000s. Nowadays, broadband is accessible on all devices, from laptops, and smartphones to tablets, and smart TVs.
In a nutshell, an internet service provider (ISP) will supply the connection and equipment to get you wired to the service. It’s usually done through your fixed telephone line. Upon subscription, the ISP will make the internet signal ready and operational in your house.
2. Common Types of Broadband
Although they pretty much fulfill the same function, i.e. delivering internet to your home, there are different types of broadband in the telecom industry, depending on ISPs.
- ADSL – Initially launched by BT, ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is the original and most common type of broadband in circulation. It requires a fixed phone line, and your internet speed will vary depending on the distance between your home and the exchange post. Modern ADSL2+ broadband can also offer higher speeds.
- Cable – This type of broadband is mainly offered by Virgin Media. Contrary to ADSL, it doesn’t require a working phone line. The company delivers internet access via coaxial cables, which makes for a more rapid and less variable internet connection.
- Fiber Optic – Fiber Optic offers the highest and most reliable internet speeds, yet this type is still in development in most areas. It delivers broadband to your house via fiber optic cables that use light to transmit a signal over long distances, without compromising speed.
3. What is Your Typical Usage?
If you’re looking to upgrade your current connection, it’s important to determine your typical online usage to select the best internet provider and package plan. Whether you’re going for BT, Vodafone, Sky or Virgin Media, you can compare these different providers to get an in-depth look at what each has to offer, and which broadband is best suited for you based on location and user requirements. It’s a convenient option to switch easily and save hundreds of pounds in the process.
As far as usage, light users who periodically browse the web, send emails, and use social media will be fine with a speed of 5 to 10Mbps. They won’t need high data limits either and can opt for a 100GB monthly allowance.
Medium and heavy users, on the other hand, will want a speedier connection of at least 30Mbps to withstand intensive internet usage. Some providers even propose speeds of up to 1GB, but they tend to be more expensive and not always attainable. Depending on how often they stream and download, these users should opt for a more generous data limit of 300 to 400GB, with some companies offering an unlimited option.
4. Pricing, Contracts, and Fees
Price will certainly be a major consideration upon choosing a home broadband deal. It stands to reason that your internet package should be in line with your monthly telecom budget, so make sure you select one that you can afford on a month-to-month basis.
All broadband deals available require a minimum contract period, of typically 12 to 24 months. As such, it’s important to review different providers to ensure you don’t cancel after a few weeks and risk being subjected to costly cancellation fees.
Last but not least, know that some ISPs are likely to charge you a one-time installation fee upon subscription. Just because some providers guarantee you free installation, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better or more reliable!
All things considered, navigating the modern telecom sector for the best home internet deals can be quite the challenge. However, with some careful consideration and planning, you’re bound to find the best and most convenient option to enjoy the internet from the comfort of your own home.
Interesting related article: “What is Wi-Fi?“