How to compare broadband deals
In the UK there are a number of telecom companies offering a multitude of broadband packages ranging from a straightforward, basic Internet connection through to superfast fibre technology with phone and TV options.
At PocketRate we try and simplify things to help you choose the right deal for your home. Our easy to use broadband comparison tables enable you to narrow down your requirements and to compare features and benefits such as download speed, monthly cost and additional options such as phone plans and TV package offers.
What is a broadband Internet connection?
Broadband is way of transmitting electronic signals across a network using an ADSL telephone connection, cable, mobile Wi-Fi or optical fibre.
A broadband Internet connection is always active and can be accessed via an electronic device called a router that can create a network within your home. The connection to the router can be direct via an Ethernet cable or more commonly via a Wi-Fi signal.
Who offers broadband deals?
Some of the major players include:
- British Telecom (BT)
- Virgin Media
The broadband market has seen a number of new entrants including shops and supermarkets. This has meant that there are now a number of different broadband deals available.
How to compare broadband
Essentially there are several main factors that you should consider when looking to buy broadband:
Compare broadband package deals
This essentially comes down to whether you want broadband and TV included in your deal. Most customers will either already have a telephone line or can get one included in the basic broadband package. There are a few providers that offer broadband only Internet but that means you need to arrange a phone line to be installed separately.
Narrow down your selection on the PocketRate broadband comparison table using the menu tabs provided.
Compare broadband speed
The speed at which your connection operates should be a major factor in your decision. Up until recently, providers in the UK could advertise an ‘Up to’ speed, which was effectively the maximum speed possible. However, changes to government regulation now mean that providers have to advertise the ‘Average’ speed of connection.
The average speed is defined as the speed that at least 50% of customers get during peak time. Ofcom, the government regulator, defines peak time as being between the hours of 8pm – 10pm.
In reality, the actual speed customers can achieve is dependent on a number of issues including where they live, how far their home is from the exchange, the type of connection e.g. cable or optical fibre and the time of day it is.
Generally speaking, the faster the connection, the more expensive the broadband package is.
Compare broadband contract lengths
Most contract lengths will either be 12 months, 18 months or 24 months. There are also a few providers that offer no contract broadband. It’s important to remember that after the standard cooling off period, you will be locked into this contract and cancelling it early may result in being charged an early termination fee.
Compare broadband setup costs
Some providers require you to pay an upfront fee for either the setup of your broadband connection and telephone line or as post and packaging cost for sending the equipment to you.
The PocketRate broadband comparison tables include a column for setup fees to help you understand the total cost of the deal.
Compare broadband monthly costs
After you have narrowed down your selection and compared the features and benefits of various broadband deals, you should compare the ongoing monthly costs.
You should also remember that some providers may have introductory offers that mean you pay less for an initial period of time but then pay an increased costs going forward.