What is broadband?

 

What is Broadband? A Guide to Choosing the Best Internet Service for Your Needs

 

What is broadband

Broadband is the term used to describe the high-speed internet connection that most of us use every day.

Whether you want to watch your favourite shows on Netflix, play online games with your friends, work from home, or learn new skills online, you need a good broadband connection to do it. But what exactly is broadband, and how do you choose the best one for your needs?

In this post, we will answer these questions and more. We will explain the different types of broadband services and providers available in the UK, and how they compare in terms of speed, performance, and cost. We will also give you some tips on how to find the best broadband deal for your budget and requirements.

What is the best broadband?

Compare different types of broadband services and providers in the UK

One of the first things you need to consider when choosing a broadband service is what type of technology it uses to deliver the internet to your home or business.

Types of broadband technology in the UK

There are four main types of broadband technology in the UK: ADSL, cable, fibre, and mobile. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs and location.

  • ADSL broadband uses the same copper wires that carry your phone calls to provide internet access.
    It is the most widely available type of broadband in the UK, but also the slowest and least reliable. ADSL broadband speeds can vary from 2 Mbps to 24 Mbps, depending on how far you are from the nearest telephone exchange. ADSL broadband is usually the cheapest option, but it may not be enough for heavy internet users or large households.
  • Cable broadband uses coaxial cables that carry TV signals to provide internet access.
    It is only available from Virgin Media in the UK, which covers over 60% of the country.
    Cable broadband is faster and more consistent than ADSL broadband, with speeds ranging from 54 Mbps to over 1 GB. Cable broadband is more expensive than ADSL broadband.
  • Fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables that carry light signals to provide internet access.
    It’s the fastest and most reliable type of broadband in the UK, but also the least available.
    Fibre broadband speeds can vary from 30 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, depending on whether you have fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology.
    FTTC uses fibre cables to connect to a nearby street cabinet, and then copper wires to connect to your home or business.
    FTTP uses fibre cables all the way to your home or business. Fibre broadband is more expensive than ADSL or cable broadband, but it also offers better performance and future-proofing.
  • Mobile broadband uses mobile phone networks (4G or 5G) to provide internet access.
    It is the most flexible and portable type of broadband in the UK, but also the most dependent on signal strength and coverage.
    Mobile broadband speeds can vary from 10 Mbps to 300 Mbps, depending on whether you have 4G or 5G technology.
    4G is available in most parts of the country, but 5G is only available in some major cities and towns. Mobile broadband is usually cheaper than fixed-line broadband, but it may have data limits and may not be suitable for heavy internet users or large households.
Top 20+ UK Broadband Deals This Week

 

Compare different Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Once you have decided what type of broadband technology you want, you need to compare different providers that offer it in your area. There are many providers in the UK, each with their own features and benefits. Some of the leading providers are:

  • BT: The largest provider of fixed-line phone services in the UK. They also offer fibre and ADSL broadband packages in most areas. They have good speeds and reliability, as well as a range of extras such as BT Sport, BT Cloud, BT Wi-Fi, and BT Smart Hub. They offer phone call bundles.
  • Virgin Media: The only Internet Service Provider that offers cable broadband in the UK. They also offer fibre broadband in some areas. They have the fastest average speeds and also offer TV and phone packages.
  • Sky: The largest provider of satellite TV in the UK. They also offers fibre and ADSL broadband in most areas. They have good speeds and reliability, as well as a wide range of TV channels and extras.
  • Now Broadband: A subsidiary of Sky that offers cheaper and simpler fibre and ADSL broadband packages. They have decent speeds and reliability, as well as flexible contract lengths and no activation fees. They also offer Sky TV membership passes.
  • PlusNet: A subsidiary of BT that offers fibre and ADSL broadband packages. They have good speeds and reliability, as well as award-winning customer service and low prices.
  • Hyperoptic:  Specialises in FTTP fibre broadband in some urban areas. They have the fastest speeds and reliability in the market, as well as unlimited data and no contract options.
  • Community Fibre: An ISP that specialises in FTTP fibre broadband in some London boroughs. They have very fast speeds and reliability, as well as unlimited data and no contract options.
  • TalkTalk: Offers fibre and ADSL broadband packages in most areas. They have decent speeds and reliability, as well as low prices.
  • Shell Energy Broadband: Offer fibre and ADSL broadband packages in most areas. They have decent speeds and reliability, as well as renewable energy discounts and no exit fees. It also offers phone calls.
  • Vodafone: Offer fibre broadband packages in some areas. They have good speeds and reliability, as well as unlimited data and no line rental options. It also offers phone call bundles.
  • Onestream: A provider that offers fibre and ADSL broadband packages in most areas. They have decent speeds and reliability, as well as low prices and no setup fees.
  • Three 4G/5G Broadband: A provider that offers mobile broadband packages using 4G or 5G technology. They have good speeds and coverage, as well as unlimited data and no contract options.
Compare The Best Broadband Deals From the Above Providers

 

Find the best broadband deal for you

To find the best broadband deal for your needs and budget, you need to compare different Internet Service Providers . Some of the things you need to look for are:

  • Speed: The rate at which data is transferred over the internet, measured in Mbps. The higher the speed, the faster you can download or upload files, stream videos, play games, or video call online. You need to consider both the download speed (how fast you can receive data) and the upload speed (how fast you can send data). The speed you get may depend on your location, distance from the exchange or cabinet, number of users and devices, and network congestion.
  • Price: The amount of money you pay for your broadband service, usually per month. The price may depend on the type of broadband technology, the speed, the data allowance, the contract length, and the extras. You need to consider both the monthly and upfront costs (how much you pay at the start for activation, installation, or equipment). You also need to look out for any hidden fees or charges, such as line rental, delivery and early termination.
  • Customer service: The quality of support and assistance you get from your broadband provider, usually by phone, email, chat, or social media. The customer service may vary depending on the availability, responsiveness, friendliness, knowledgeability, and helpfulness of the staff. You also need to look out for any customer reviews or ratings, such as Trustpilot, Which?, or Ofcom.
  • Contract length: The duration of your agreement with your broadband provider, usually in months or years. The contract length may depend on the type of broadband technology, the speed, the price, and the extras. You need to consider both the minimum term (how long you have to stay with your provider) and the notice period (how long you have to give before leaving your provider). You also need to look out for any early termination fees or penalties if you want to switch providers before your contract ends.
  • Extras: The additional features or benefits you get from your broadband provider, usually for free or at a discounted price. The extras may depend on the type of broadband technology, the speed, the price, and the contract length. Some of the common extras are: TV packages, Phone call bundles, mobile sim only deals, cashback, shopping vouchers or reward cards.

What is the quickest broadband in my area?

How to find out how fast your internet is and what you can get.

If you want to enjoy the best online experience, you need a fast broadband service. Broadband speed is the measure of how quickly data is transferred over the internet, measured in Mbps (megabits per second).

The higher the speed, the quicker you can download or upload files, stream videos, play games, or video call online. But how do you know how fast your broadband is and what you can get in your area? Here are some easy ways to check your broadband speed and availability.

Checking your broadband speed

One way to check your broadband speed is to use online tools that test how fast your connection is. You can use the speed test widget on our website. All you have to do is tap on the go button. The tool will then run a test and show you your download speed (how fast you can receive data), upload speed (how fast you can send data), latency (how long it takes for data to travel between your device and the server), and ping (how responsive your connection is). You can run the test several times and at different times of the day to get an average result. Alternatively you can use some of the other popular speed test tools such as  Speedtest.net or Fast.com.

Find out the fastest broadband available in your area

Another way to check what broadband services are available in your area is to use online coverage checkers that show you the fastest broadband speed available at your address.  Some of the popular availability checkers are broadbandgenie.co.uk or Ofcom.org.uk broadband checker.  All you have to do is enter your postcode or address on their website, and then tap on the search or compare button. The tool will then show you a list of providers and packages that you can get in your area, along with their speed, price, contract length, and extras. You can filter, sort, and compare the results to find the best deal for you.

By checking your broadband speed and availability, you can find out what is the quickest broadband in your area and choose the best service for your needs. For example, if you live in a rural area where ADSL broadband is the only option, you might want to look for a provider that offers the highest speed possible, such as Plusnet or Onestream.

If you live in an urban area where fibre broadband is available, you might want to look for a provider that offers the best value for money, such as Hyperoptic or Community Fibre.

If you live in a mobile hotspot where 4G or 5G broadband is available, you might want to look for a provider that offers the most flexibility and portability, such as Three 4G/5G or Vodafone.

How to set up and use your broadband connection

Once you have chosen a broadband service and provider, you need to set up and use your broadband connection.

The first step is to get the equipment you need to access broadband. The equipment may include:

– Modem: A device that converts the signals from your broadband provider into data that your devices can understand. The modem may be built-in or separate from your router, depending on the type of broadband technology.
– Router: A device that connects your devices to the internet wirelessly (Wi-Fi) or with a cable (ethernet). The router may be provided by your provider or bought by yourself, depending on the type of broadband technology.
– Wireless network (Wi-Fi): A network that allows your devices to connect to the internet without a cable. The wireless network will have a name (SSID) and a password (key or phrase) that you need to enter on your devices to join it.
– Ethernet cable (LAN): A cable that connects your devices to the internet with a physical connection. The ethernet cable may have a plug (RJ45) that you need to insert into your router and your device.
– Powerline adapter: A device that uses your electrical wiring to extend your internet connection to other rooms or floors. The powerline adapter needs to be inserted into a plug socker and your router.

The second step is to install and configure your broadband equipment using the instructions provided by your provider or manufacturer. The instructions may include:

– Plug in: Connect your modem and router to a power source and turn them on.
– Connect: Connect your modem and router with a cable or wirelessly, depending on the type of broadband technology.
– Switch on/off (power cycle): Turn off and on your modem and router to reset them and establish a connection.
– Log in (username/password): Enter your username and password on your provider’s website or app to activate your service and manage your account.
– Settings: Change some settings on your router’s web interface or app to customise your network, such as the name, password, channel, security, etc.

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