When looking to compare broadband plans in the UK, it is important to take multiple factors into consideration – not just the price. Speed, usage, location and portability all come into play when choosing a new broadband supply.
The first consideration is the use that the internet will actually get. People who spend very little time online, perhaps only checking their emails and performing essential online transactions, require significantly less data allowance than those who will be watching catch up television, streaming music, downloading files and spending hours browsing or researching. Understanding the anticipated usage will allow the customer to make an educated decision as to the size of package they require, rather than paying a premium for service they do not need. For example, 40 hours of general internet surfing of average websites uses approximately 0.3 gigabytes – whilst 40 hours of listening to online radio channels would use in the region of 2.6 gigabytes. Watching a film in High Definition on a streaming service like Netflix or LoveFilm could use as much as 2.8 gigabytes per hour. Having an awareness of the intended use will enable the right choices to be made. Comparing packages that offer what is actually required is much more efficient than comparing a wide range of packages with additional features to confuse the process. Some policies are capped to a monthly download amount, whilst others are unlimited or offer a fair usage policy instead of stated limit.
Speed also makes a difference. Companies offering high speed connections cannot guarantee that all households will receive that speed, nor that it will be sustained throughout the day. During peak evening periods, speeds can be reduced dramatically. Despite promising headline speeds of extremely high download rates, be sure to check with individual suppliers for their coverage in the actual geographical area. Most companies offer a postcode checking service for this. There is little point in paying for high speeds if it is not possible to achieve them in the area. On ASDL broadband, this is even affected by the distance from the exchange, so be sure to check before committing to a contract and be wary when using speed details to compare suppliers if it has not been checked thoroughly.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use customer reviews to compare different company’s service levels. Reviews from existing clients offer insight into the way a company treats their customers, as well as a chance to explore their conflict resolution and dispute handling. Remain aware that many reviews are left by people with a grudge, but if there is a good substantial proportion of satisfied customers then this bodes well for new clients too.