Cheap Broadband – Is it For You?

Why pay £60 1 month for broadband when you can get cheap broadband for only £15 a month? Is it worth you paying the extra for a more expensive package?

All broadband is faster than dial-up, except mobile broadband at a bad time. How impatient are you? Can you wait two seconds for a web page to open or do you start stressing out if you notice any page load time faster than a tenth of a second?

  • What do you get?

Advertised Speed

Cheap broadband is usually offered as an 8Mb nominal speed. A few years ago any of us would have been over the Moon with an 8Mb advertised speed; all we could get was 1Mb per sec.

Of course the Internet is changing every day. In the olden days there were no video, music or online gaming sites, so 1Mb was fine; perhaps we had more patience, too.

Actual Speed

8Mb Might be what they tell you that you can get but it’s like that 125mph speedometer on your car, forget it.

An 8Mb connection is faster than a 4Mb connection. That’s about the only true statement you can make about it.

The speed that you get on any cheap ADSL connection over your phone line depends on how far you live from your local telephone exchange and local cabinet. If the phone company has run optical fibre cable to the green box in the street and you live right next to this cabinet then you might get 7Mb from an 8Mb connection. Most people only get 3-4Mb though.

broadband

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/osde-info/2221618190/

  • What’s on Offer?

Cheap broadband is available through cable or through your phone line. If cable has reached you, then get connected. It is worth the one-off connection fee for the faster broadband connection alone.

Deals vary from month to month, but there must be a lot of money to be made in the business because there are new companies entering the market all the time.

Most ISPs offer a phone service at the same time as the broadband; many have inclusive phone use minutes for free.

  • What You Don’t Get – The Extras

Itemised billing costs an extra £1 or £2 a month. Now you and I might think that itemised billing is an essential because we don’t have much trust in our Internet provider not to rip us off at least a little bit, but they cost you extra.

Paper billing will cost you extra, as will anything other than a very basic “Send us an email” service when anything goes wrong.

Most companies have a minimum 12 month contract and there are exit charges if you need to terminate the contract before the agreed date.

Some companies even charge you for delivering your “free” router to your home.

  • Is Cheap Broadband Going to Work for You?

If you have read all the small print and are prepared for the necessary extras like itemised billing, then yes.

It works, but do not expect seamless video, music and gaming because they do not work on a slow cheap broadband connection, you need a 24Mb nominal speed to make those work well.

Brian Goulding manages perfectly well on a cheap broadband  package, but he has no kids screaming out for YouTube videos . . .

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