Looking Beyond the Glossy Advert

When we’re looking for the best broadband deals it can be a really complex task.  There are so many different providers on the market and so many different technologies.  On top of this, broadband advertising is far from transparent and the actual price you will pay for your broadband is sometimes not known until the first month of your contract.

This article will look at a little bit about the different technologies of broadband and then jump to the ways in which you can get duped by broadband advertising.

The Best Broadband Deals on Different Technologies

It’s important to understand the different technologies that carry the broadband signal.  There are three main technologies used at the moment and these are:

  • Fibre optic broadband
  • ADSL Broadband
  • Mobile Broadband

Fibre Optic Broadband

Fibre optic broadband is the technology that runs over fibre optic cables and is available around 50% of the country.  Top providers include Virgin Broadband and BT Broadband and this type of connection is the fastest available on the market.

Businesses are currently seeing connections up to 1GBps and routinely Virgin Broadband consumers get around 100Mbps.  It is the next generation of home broadband and is going to be the future of the technology and internet.

If you’re looking for the best broadband deals, then do a search to find out whether you can actually get fibre optic broadband.  There are a number of Ofcom approved tools available online that you can find on services such as uSwitch. 

ADSL Technology

The ADSL technology is driven by the telephone infrastructure that was put in place many years ago.  The copper cables on which the internet runs are not that great at passing the signal.  That is part of the reason that fibre optic is superseding ADSL.  The further you are from the telephone exchange the slower the connection you are likely to get.

There are also different types of ADSL depending on what kind of equipment is installed at the telephone exchange and new technologies in ADSL can increase speed to up to 24 Mbps which is pretty quick.

If you have to make the choice between ADSL and fibre optic broadband, one of the main considerations is price.  Fibre optic broadband tends to be more expensive than ADSL but you do have to have a telephone line for ADSL.  If you have a telephone line anyway that are keeping then this is less of a consideration.

It’s important to check what speeds you’re likely to get on ADSL and you can do this through a post code check service where you can see other people’s speed test results or by talking to various providers about the level of connectivity you’re likely to get. 

It’s well worth jumping onto services such as Sam Knows Best and finding out what distance you are from the telephone exchange too.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband is improving at a rate of knots.  We now have 4G connectivity which is 14 Mbps in speed.  The service at the moment is patchy as it is still rolling out but we’re going to see more and more options for people to jump on to mobile broadband as their main broadband connection and in view of this, providers have started offering MiFi connections where you can have multiple devices connected simultaneously to a modem.  This is a massive leap forward on the previous dongles where you had to plug in through the USB socket on your device to stay connected.

Bad Unlimited Broadband Deals

It’s important to consider whether the broadband you’re getting is actually unlimited when you for an unlimited deal.  There are very few providers that do in fact provide an unlimited broadband in the real sense.  Most providers will have a fair usage policy that limits the way in which you can use the internet and limits the amount that you can do.

Providers such as TalkTalk offer unlimited broadband that only amounts to 40GB per month in reality.  This is a fairly low usage limit when you consider the activities we can do online these days.

Nowadays, we can watch TV online, stream high definition movies, and play online games.  Watching eight high definition movies could well use up a 40GB limit.  If you have five people in the house, and just four of them are into high definition movie streaming.  Come the middle of the month, their Friday evening film could be impossible.

Make sure you check the fine print and the fair usage policies to understand which providers offer the best unlimited broadband.  Some of the ones that you could consider are BE Broadband, Sky Broadband, BT Broadband, and now Virgin Broadband when you take their top priced offering.

Broadband Speeds

When we’re looking for the best broadband deals, we’re often focused on the speed we can attain.  As we’ve seen, whether we can get fibre optic broadband or decent ADSL is to a certain extent a post code lottery. We also have to understand that on ADSL, the up to speeds that we are advertised will not be actually speeds that we attain.

The speeds that we attain will come down to our distance from the telephone exchange and the quality of wiring outside and inside our home.  Don’t be fooled by the headline rates and try and understand what you will actually receive rather than be counting on what the headlines say you’ll receive.

Hidden Costs in Broadband Advertising

After you’ve seen how broadband speed and unlimited broadband are advertised, you’ll probably not be surprised that there are many other ways in which broadband advertising tries to trick the consumer.  There are always headline rates and then an asterisk that points to fine print and different considerations that you should be aware of.  For example if you take the advertised cheap landline price with the TalkTalk package, you have to pay for a year upfront in order to get it.

With other packages if you get free installation you may actually have to pay for the installation upfront and then be reimbursed later in the contract period.  With some connections, free installation may only apply if you take a minimum term contract and if you leave before that minimum term you could be charged the total installation cost.

There are many other minor expenses that do mount up.  For example some providers charge for itemized billing. Others charge for any payment method that is not direct debit.  It’s also worth looking at the tech support phone line cost, as some are premium rate numbers that will cost you £1 a minute whenever you have an issue with your connection.

Understanding the total package is the only way you’ll truly get the best broadband deals for your situation.