10 Things To Consider When Choosing a Broadband Provider

27/09/2013   

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If you are choosing your first broadband provider or are looking to move to a different provider then there are several key things to consider.

Don’t just jump on the first good deal you see, you need to consider a number of variables and options to ensure you get the best package with the provider most suited to you and your circumstances.

We’ve put together a short guide with 10 things we think are important to consider when choosing your next broadband provider:

1) Recommendations

There is nothing better than a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. You know you can trust them and their judgement so this kind of recommendation is invaluable.

Don’t forget, their requirements may be different to yours so do some investigating to see what package they have, what they use it for, what they pay so you can consider each option.

2) Special Offers

Nothing beats a good introductory offer! Our broadband deal page has the latest offers available and you’ll notice they are very tempting. Before you go ahead with any package make sure you check the important things like how long the contract is, does the price go up after a few months and do you need line rental as part of the deal?

If you can find a good special offer that matches with a package that meets your requirements it is the perfect scenario for a great deal!

3) Contract Length

One thing people often forget to check is how long the contract length is. This can vary massively from one broadband provider to the next and can range from a single month at a time up to 2 years or more.

A very long contract should only be taken out if you are sure the deal is right for you and your are confident you won’t want to change. We always recommend setting up a calendar reminder for when your contract is coming round for renewal so you can choose to either renew or move provider with less hassle in the future.

4) Download Speeds

Not every broadband provider offers the same download speed. This is true for both ADSL, cable and fibre optic connections. Each provider has their own packages and speed limits so it is important you check what your predicted speed will be.

For most people the difference won’t be too noticeable but if you are planning to play games online or purchase and download large files like movies online then you may need a faster connection than the average customer.

5) Download Limits

Again, the download limits included with each provider vary massively. Some will have a specific download limit and will then charge a fee on top of your monthly amount for the additional data you download.

Some providers advertise unlimited downloads which is ideal for people playing games, downloading music and movies etc… but these are often backed up with a ‘fair usage’ policy. This means that although there is no download limits as such they can still change this if you are using too many resources.

6) Reviews

In addition to point 1 in this list about personal recommendations we also recommend reading reviews from other people. Our website has a range of broadband provider reviews which we hope are useful to you.

Other websites will also have reviews from people about their broadband company. We recommend reading all types of reviews (both good and bad) to get a well rounded opinion on the kind of service you can expect to receive.

7) Customer Support

A very important one! If something goes wrong how will you get assistance? Does your new potential broadband provider offer telephone support? If so, is it a freephone number or will you have to pay? Where are their call centers based?

If they don’t provide telephone support how do you get in touch with them? If they only provide online contact forms or email for support this is usually fine but remember you may not be able to email them if your connection is down or experiencing problems.

8) Will They Slow Me Down?

Thankfully this isn’t as much of a problem these days but in the past broadband providers were known to slow customers down at peak times. This ensured their network resources were spread evenly during the most busy times.

These days this is far less common so isn’t something you normally have to worry about but keep an eye out for mentions of slow downs in the reviews you read.

9) What is Included?

In addition to the things included in your package (eg. cashback, half price monthly fees, vouchers for shops etc…) it is important to consider what you actually get in terms of hardware.

Will they provide a router? Will it be installed or do you need to do this? Does work need to be carried out on my phone line? Most providers make things as easy as possible these days: You either need to just setup a router (or use your existing one) or if you are having fibre broadband installed an engineer will need to do some work on your line to get it setup for fibre optic.

10) Get In Touch

A lot of the advice we’ve provided in the above list may not be easily answerable on the websites or promotional information from each provider. Because of this we recommend getting in touch with a couple of potential broadband providers before you take out a package.

Ask them any questions you may have, see how fast they are to reply, how helpful is their response and you’ll get a great overall feel of the company and how they conduct themselves.

Once you have enough information you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on research, comparison and reviews.

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