Searching through broadband offers - A guide


Broadband internet has advanced quickly in the past few years; we all remember the times when we bought our first computers and what the internet connection speeds were back then. Where once consumers were stuck with slow and impractical dial up connections, they can now use the superfast fibre optic broadband which offers practically instant website access. This advancement is more than welcome news; however the fact that there are so many providers can be anything but straight forward.

Whilst consumers should take confidence in the fact that the broadband market is more competitive than ever (meaning lower bills and better deals), it can be difficult if you are trying to find the best broadband deal currently on the market amongst these hundreds of suppliers. This abundance of offers and broadband packages can actually make you wish there were fewer suppliers out there; however by following the tips mentioned here, you should find the best broadband deal with ease.

Shop around

The number one tip is to shop around; "Search and compare" websites are great for providing you with an overview of the providers out there, and what their monthly pricing is like. However whilst "search and compare" websites can save you an inordinate amount of time, you need to understand what it is that makes up a broadband deal in order to judge which is the best deal, and which is suitable for you.

uSwitch is a particularly useful "search and compare" website which makes the process of comparing broadband deals streamlined.

The nitty gritty of broadband deals

Understanding exactly what is that makes up a broadband package is key to understanding what is on offer, what may be suitable to you and how to compare them.

Speed

First and foremost, you need to look at the speed of the broadband on offer, and what package that offers the speed you need; if you're unsure as to what you require, then generally take the following as a guide:

- Basic usage for a family household (30mb),
- Middle usage for a family that may be using multiple devices online at once (60mb),
- Heavy users that can take 5 people online at the same time (120mb).

You should be aware however that the speed advertised is not always the speed you receive, whichever provider you choose. This is because of the fluctuating nature of the internet, and how many users may be online at any one time.

Data Restrictions

Before you sign up with any company it is crucial that you understand not all packages are equal. Before you commit, check what the data restrictions are for any given provider. Some of them restrict the total amount of data you can move through your broadband connection. Therefore, even with high-speed connection, you may be restricted on how much data you transfer.

Generally speaking companies are moving over to unlimited amounts of data, particularly as the packages are often sold with television deals which are high use devices (think of the average smart TV and how much data Netflix uses).

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi has seen a phenomenal increase in popularity following the high adoption rates of smartphones and tablets; now more than ever wires are simply not practical. Additionally Wi-Fi deals are no longer as expensive as they used to be; but you should check the suitability to your home, as you may require more than one router to cover all the rooms and ensure you have internet access throughout the house.

Price and availability

Of course the final thing to consider for your broadband choice should be price and availability. BT (www.BT.com) is the UK's biggest broadband provider and their broadband network covers 99% of the UK population. They are additionally considered to offer some of the most cost effective and flexible broadband packages out there. DSL and cable connections are the least costly with plans while satellite and fibre connections generally start at higher prices.

And remember, if you are highly mobile, you can use your mobile phone as a 3G modem which is nothing new. But be careful: most mobile contract plans come with a very small data allowance. If you go over the limit you may receive a shockingly large bill.