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We know a thing or two broadband, and getting on the internet. So, we thought we would try to explain one or two things when it comes to broadband and switching.
Put simply, broadband is a widely-used term for the technology service that allows you to access the internet. Originally delivered through BT phone lines, “always on” broadband meant that people could use the internet without having to unplug their phones first (what was called dial-up).
Broadband has developed over the years, and now includes options such as ADSL, mobile, cable, fibre optic, and satellite.
Often mistaken as being the same thing, WiFi is a wireless way of connecting to the internet. You may have broadband coming into your home, and you may have computers wired in to the broadband, but you may also have a router device that then sends out a WiFi signal so that devices (like laptops or phones) don’t have to use wires to get online.
ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, ADSL for short, is a broadband connection that is provided via your landline telephone line. Internet providers will have their software in telephone exchanges and rent “space” from Openreach (formerly BT and owner the telephone infrastructure). If you use this system, a filter will have been added to your phone socket so that calls and the internet can be separated in the home.
CABLE - able to offer faster speeds but not nearly as widely available as the copper wire system, cable (or rather coaxial cable) describes another way in which broadband gets from a cabinet in the street to your home. This method is used by providers such as Virgin Media.
FIBRE OPTIC - this is when fibre optic cable, rather than copper wires, is used to transmit data from the exchange either to a cabinet in the street (known as FTTC), or directly to your home (FTTH). When it gets to the cabinet, it is often then delivered to your home via the copper phone lines. This is why the speed to the cabinet may be very fast, but then slow a little when it gets to your property. FTTH sounds ideal, but there is little availability here in the UK.
MOBILE - as it suggests, mobile internet is when you have equipment that can connect other devices to the internet without the need for cables. Mobile internet makes use of SIM cards, like a mobile phone, and internet speeds can vary depending on which package you choose. You might choose this option not particularly for the home, but if you are out quite a lot either through work or leisure.
SATELITE - this way of connecting to the internet uses satellite rather than cables and cabinets. It’s a bit like satellite TV but, unlike TV, you can send information as well as receive it. Satellite broadband can be used anywhere, but is likely to be used where cable is not practical, or a property is so far from an exchange that the broadband connection is effectively useless.
Broadband speed basically means how fast you can upload or download data using your internet connection. Speed can be critical to how you make your choice of which provider you choose or which bundle you go for. For example, you may not watch a lot of movies, or stream TV shows or play web-based games, so you may not need the superfast broadband.
If you’re working from home, which a lot of us are these days, you may need a fast speed to send big files across to colleagues or clients.
Fast speeds may sound good, but do you really need it?
There are many reasons why people switch broadband provider, but it is often because of speeds. People these days rely on internet connections that mean everyone in a house can get online. Think of a family perhaps where the adults are working on their laptops, and the children are watching boxsets or playing on their games consoles.
If a lot of people are using the internet, then it may slow down. If a house is far from the exchange, then the broadband may not be strong. Some broadband providers are putting in fibre optic cables ready to link up to people’s homes, and it might be that this is a faster option than people’s current broadband provider.
Sometimes, it’s about price. It’s a highly-competitive market, and broadband providers often have deals on and offers to encourage people either to sign up or re-sign.
Yes, you can switch broadband providers, but, be careful. If you are still in contract, there is usually a clause that says you cannot switch for a certain length of time. You’ll be tied in and there might well be chunky penalties for cancelling early and breaking the contract. Before you start looking, check your contract.
This depends on what you actually want. Assess what it is you are basing your buying decision on. Is it about Speed? Cost? Contract length? Usage? Will it be powerful enough to keep you gaming or downloading boxsets or watching internet videos (if that’s what you want to do?
Do the monthly payments stack up for you? Can you afford it? Is the service you want actually available in your area? Might be a great deal but if it doesn’t do what you want or isn’t available at your address, it is worthless. Mind, if something fits the bill and is available, and fits in with your budget, you might have a good deal.
You might even get a freebie thrown in (be careful though, a freebie must not distract you from whether or not the actual deal is right).
On rare occasions, you can get broadband on its own. However, it’s more likely that it will be part of a bundle. What this means is one provider will offer you a telephone, broadband, and perhaps TV in a bundle. A number of services, but one provider.
In terms of cost, have a serious ponder about the individual services you may need. Then, have a look at bundles that have those services. It might be that you could get them cheaper from the one provider.
Get Faster & Cheaper Broadband.
Deals From £16.99
Simply enter your postcode and we’ll find you a deal that’ll save you hundreds a year with Fibre Fast Speeds…