When choosing an internet connection, finding out which best broadband service will be the most suitable can seem complicated. A little information, however, can make the process much smoother and help make it easy to understand the different options available.
First and foremost, the speed and the price of the broadband package will be totally dependent on the way that your house is connected to the network. At present, there are three main options – plus a number of less common connection types for people in very rural or inaccessible locations. Most people’s homes are able to connect to ADSL broadband points, which are run through telephone lines. Available to an impressive 99% of homes in the United Kingdom, this is the way that the majority of people have experienced broadband for the past few years. Just like dial up internet before it, the modem or router is plugged into the telephone port and uses this to connect to the network. Unlike dial up, broadband connections do not monopolise the telephone and calls can be made simultaneously to browsing the web. Though BT own the majority of the telephone lines, it is not always necessary to take line rental from BT in order to have broadband. Many independent broadband operators rent the line from BT on behalf of the customer, enabling just one bill to be paid. Others choose to install their own equipment into the telephone exchanges, and take full possession of the wiring to ‘unbundle’ the phone line from BT.
Fibre and cable broadband options are newer, and generally known to be able to offer higher speed connections than ADSL broadband. Using fibre cables is much more efficient than the copper wires used in ADSL, allowing high speed connections to be made which are not dependant on the distance from the exchange. However, at the present time, only a comparatively small proportion of the country is covered in this way – fibre and cable access is not yet available to everyone. Virgin Media have an established cable network which reaches approximately 50% of the country, whilst BT has committed to a programme of expansion to reach around 8million households with their fibre service.
Alternatively, for those who do not want access fixed in their homes, outside of these main three options there remain additional choices. Mobile broadband is highly popular. This puts a small modem in a USB device, which can be plugged into a laptop for an internet connection ‘on the go.’ Relying on the same signal network as mobile phones, wherever there is sufficient signal strength the user is able to access the internet. These are also ideal for people who are moving house, or who have not yet committed to installing a landline.