Broadband is a household essential, and has proved especially important to all of us over the last year, thanks to the increase in remote working and lockdown socialising on Zoom. However, choosing the right broadband deal can be daunting, especially as there is so much choice out there. Read our guide to help make sure that you find the right deal for you.
Isn’t broadband just the same as wi-fi? You may be forgiven for thinking that this is the case, as the two terms seem to be used indistinguishably. However, there are a number of key differences. Wi-fi is simply a term for a wireless internet connection, whilst broadband refers specifically to high-speed internet access. Wi-fi connects your devices to the internet through a wireless router, and can offer high speeds and the ability to connect multiple devices, making it convenient for public access “hot spots.” This can make it less secure and more susceptible to interference from poor weather conditions or other factors, such as a high volume of devices all simultaneously attempting to connect to the internet. Broadband is a more secure choice. It’s also better for dealing with larger volumes of data.
Wireless broadband is a means of gaining access to the high speeds of broadband internet, but uses a wireless connection (wi-fi) to a special 4G router, rather than an ethernet cable. It’s common for households to make use of both wired and wireless broadband simultaneously, with wireless broadband connecting to our smartphones and laptops via wi-fi, and less mobile devices such as TVs or desktop computers accessing broadband internet via ethernet cable. Wired connections are usually able to achieve faster download speeds, and are less likely to be affected by interference. Wireless broadband using wi-fi at home is much more secure than public wi-fi hotspots, as you can—and should—secure your home internet with a password.
To get broadband at home, the first step is to check which broadband providers offer the service in your area. Not every provider is available in every part of the country, but a quick search based on your postcode is commonly available on both providers’ and compare broadband websites. It will help you to see which kinds of broadband are available in your area. For example, although 95% of the UK is now connected, not all addresses will be able to access fibre optic broadband yet, which offers the fastest internet speeds and greatest reliability, but usually costs more.
The other connection options include ADSL, Cable, Mobile, and Satellite. ADSL is the budget option for broadband access, and uses a landline telephone connection. Whilst it’s the most inexpensive choice, it also delivers the slowest broadband speeds. Cable, meanwhile, is faster and uses the copper wire infrastructure laid by BT, or, in some cases, the faster coaxial cables, which are a good option if available in your region.
Mobile broadband is accessed via a dongle or special wi-fi box, and can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go or subscription contract. Whilst it offers you flexibility (you can use it whilst out and about, not just at home), it’s the least economical option. Finally, satellite broadband is for the most remote areas, where no other broadband connection options are available.
Now that you’ve decided which kind of broadband you would prefer, and narrowed down the providers available to you, it’s time to look at the other deciding criteria.
We have mentioned that high speeds are a key benefit of broadband internet, so checking out the speeds promised by a provider is important. Whilst it’s certainly tempting to opt for the service with the fastest available speeds, think first about your household needs.
Faster speeds mean a higher price, so if your household doesn’t include gamers, or you don’t use any television streaming services on your laptop, you may be able to save money. You should always opt for a broadband service that is fast enough for your unique needs, not simply aim for the limits of what is possible. If your home comprises a couple who simply use the internet for social media or other light browsing, up to 30Mbps is likely to be sufficient. Meanwhile, if you are a large family, including serious gamers or those working from home, you might need closer to 100Mbps.
Other factors in choosing a provider include usage policies, which may influence your decision, if your household is likely to use a lot of broadband. Check for any download limits, and beware the term “unlimited,” as this can often come with caveats for “reasonable use,” and expensive charges if this is exceeded. Always check the contract length before you sign up, and don’t tie yourself to a longer period to make sure it’s easy to switch if you decide that you want to try a different provider.
There are deals for bundling together your broadband with telephone and television services. These can prove a good value option, if they are services that you already pay for separately.
It’s also worth a check to see if the equipment for your broadband, or any upgrades, is free. It may be that they are available at a subsidised cost instead. Other bonuses may be offered, too, such as cashback, or vouchers, but this may well come at the cost of a less economical package all round. Always check a service provider’s customer reviews before signing up, in order to get an impression of the experience that you might have if there were any problems.
It can seem a minefield, but our broadband comparison tools help you to get a clear overview of your options, taking into account all of these important factors. Remember that it should not simply be the cheapest price that determines your choice. Instead, be sure to compare broadband needs of your household, positive customer reviews, and good value too. This way, you can look forward to a happy broadband experience for months to come.
Fibre broadband is a type of broadband that runs a lot faster than standard broadband. It does this via connecting fibre optic cables, these cables are able to transfer data a lot quicker than standard copper cables.
Fibre broadband is much quicker than standard broadband, it is able to transfer data at lightening speeds by using fibre optic cables, rather than a standard copper cable. This makes it popular with people seeking faster and more reliable internet downloads.
There are many broadband providers that are trying g to compete with one another to get the fastest speed, but right now Virgin Media have the fastest ultra-fast fibre-optic running at speeds of 350Mb. Not all homes can qualify for this, other fast providers include BT, Sky and Plusnet and many others.
Yes, of course! With out smart technology you can compare all your broadband needs. We also work with the top broadband providers to offer you the best deals and prices for your home when comparing broadband deals.
Yes, you can change you broadband deal online also. With our smart comparison technology, when you have finished comparing broadband deals. You can take out your chosen broadband deal and the new broadband provide will do the change for you.