In a competitive market place, everyone is looking to get the best broadband offer they possibly can. Price will always be a driving force, with companies jostling to be the number one internet service provider and to attract as many people as possible to their brand using introductory offers and package deals. Choosing the best broadband for the household should not only be driven by price, though, but should take into consideration a number of other factors.
Broadband can be accessed in a range of methods, with options changing depending on geographical area and local equipment and cable installations. There are three basic major broadband options in the United Kingdom: ADSL broadband, fibre, and cable. ADSL broadband supply uses the landline telephone wires to provide internet access, either through ‘piggybacking’ on BT’s existing telephone network or by using alternative provider’s systems through local loop unbundling. This unbundling is the process whereby another internet service provider takes charge of the phone line themselves in the exchange. Fibre and cable services are comparatively new, using different cabling options to offer internet access. Speed can be affected by the kinds of cabling in the area as well as other factors: whilst the average internet user will have no problems with ADSL, heavy users might prefer the higher speeds available on fibre connections. Thinking about the ultimate usage of the internet connection will help to make sure that customers are choosing the best possible deal for their needs.
ADSL is the most commonly available connection. BT claims that 99% of the country can have this sort of connection, with only the most remote areas excluded. Generally, ADSL broadband comes at a lower price than cable or fibre choices. Though potentially slower, for most people this is not an issue. ADSL is susceptible to slowing of speeds when people live a long way away from their nearest exchange point: whilst users close to the exchange can experience speeds of up to 24 MBps, those furthest away can sometimes only achieve 2 MBps. Average speed of an ADSL connection is thought to be around 10 MBps and often higher.
Cable broadband, on the other hand, offers speeds of around 30 MBps and in some areas even up to 100 MBps. As they do not require a telephone connection there is no line rental to pay, but cable connections are often more expensive because of their faster speeds so thorough comparison is needed.