Broadband usage in the UK is constantly on the rise, with current figures showing that just under 20 million customer currently connect to the internet at high speeds using the various available technologies. 2010 will see even more growth and the roll out of fibre optic networks with the potential for the next generation of LTE mobile broadband becoming a reality before 2012 rolls around. All this means that there is plenty of competition and recent Ofcom figures show that the UK offers the cheapest broadband in the world.
Because of the plethora of technologies on offer and the competing providers it can be difficult for the average consumer to make an informed decision and pick a broadband deal that is right for them. However, by asking yourself a few quick questions you should be able to find out exactly what type of broadband will suit you.
Firstly you need to consider the speed of the broadband service that you would like. Cable broadband, which uses fibre optic technology, is the fastest currently available, with download speeds of up to 50Mbps. ADSL broadband, which uses existing copper telephone lines, is capable of up to 24Mbps via some providers and in limited areas, though a majority of ADSL customers receive 8Mbps or less. Mobile Broadband is the slowest, with average speeds clocking in at between 1Mbps and 3Mbps depending on the provider and various other factors.
The second consideration is how frequently you will be using the connection and for what purposes. This will impact your choice of provider based on the download limits they impose. Some Cable and ADSL broadband services have unlimited downloads, whilst most mobile broadband packages and the cheapest fixed line providers will have a data cap which you cannot exceed in a given monthly period. People who like to stream video, play games and chat online frequently will need an unlimited download service, or one with a generous data allowance. For those who are less heavy users a more limited service will save them money and suit their habits better.
The final consideration is cost. This will obviously be influenced by your response to the questions above, but setting yourself a monthly budget before you go looking for deals is sensible. It is also worth noting that both Cable and ADSL broadband providers will need to be paid on top of your monthly line rental costs, which can add to the total outgoings for broadband. On the other hand mobile broadband has no line rental to pay, but is costlier than fixed line for those who intend to frequently use the connection.
Picking a broadband provider can be difficult, but the easiest way to find the best broadband deals which are available in your area and in your price range is to use a broadband price comparison site. All of the major providers will be listed and you can search for deals based on your specific requirements and criteria.