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Don't Just Roll Over Your Broadband Contract

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

Accept Only the Best from Your Provider

When it comes to broadband, and many other services, as consumers we tend to get stuck with a certain provider.  We don’t realise when it’s time to renew the contract and therefore we get automatically rolled over onto the next renewal and often miss a chance for negotiation with the provider in order to achieve a better service offering.  Indeed, the best broadband deals are always changing and what you received when you first signed up may well not be the best broadband deals in the market now.

This article will look at some of the important aspects of the broadband package to ensure that you know to negotiate on with your provider and how to do so.

Download Speeds

The best broadband deals in the market tend to have fast download speeds.  Download speeds are the first advertised speed, and the component of broadband that most providers push.  This is normally seen as an ‘up to’ speed, for example ‘up to 8MB’, ‘up to 16MB’, ‘up to 24MB’.  These tell you the amount of data that you can download per second.

The reality is that broadband advertising is not very transparent and the ‘up to’ speed is the speed that 10% of a network will be able to achieve as opposed to all consumers on that package.  You may well receive a lot less.  The first thing to do when you’re coming up to renewal is to test your broadband speed over a 2-week period. 

How to Test Your Broadband Speed

It’s very easy to test your broadband speed.  Do a search online for ‘test my broadband speed’ or ‘test my internet speed’ and you’ll be thrown up lots of options through which you can run a quick online test via a speed test tool.

One very good service is speedtest.net, which offers all the characteristics of a speed test that you require.  One of the important things to consider when you do choose the speed test is that the servers used to test your connection are close by.  The further away the servers are, the less likely you are to get a good reading.  These tests will enable you to find out your download speed, upload speed, and the latency speed, or ping.

If your speeds are far below the ‘up to’ rate that is advertised on you current package, you have some bargaining power with your provider.  It’s a good idea to do test at different times of the day and also over a 2-week period.  This will give you some averages and also help you understand whether your broadband is performing particularly poorly during peak times or at any other time of the day.

Again, this will help you understand your connection and also help you explain it to your internet service provider.

Upload Speeds and Ping

Upload speeds are the velocity with which you can send data upstream.  This is sending e-mails, uploading pictures and updating the files on your website through FTP.

The latency or ping speed is the time it takes to get a response from the server.  ADSL tends to actually be the best for this type of speed and fibre optic broadband can sometimes suffer on this measure.

It’s important for the integrity of VoIP, face to face calls, and sometimes online gaming. 

The Best Broadband Deals and Data Consumption

When you’re looking for the best broadband deals it’s important to understand your user profile.  There’s no point having unlimited data available every month if you’re only consuming 100MB per month checking the news and checking your e-mail.

There are certain high intensity internet activities that you should be aware of and if you’re doing any of these then you should go for a larger data allowance.  If you don’t do any of these, you may well be able to get away with a medium or light package. 

Considering the fact that with Sky TV packages you can get a 2GB per month “lite” package for free.  It’s well worth considering whether you do need to roll over an unlimited broadband allowance package if you’re really not using it.

The High Intensity Activities

The amount of data consumed will depend on the file size that you are interacting with.  If you are downloading a movie, then obviously you’ll be downloading lots of data.  Similarly if you are streaming television, you are interacting with pictures, moving images, and audio thatall have large file sizes.  You’ll therefore be consuming a lot of data.

If you are downloading an e-mail that is just text you’re talking about a few kilobytes of data.  If you’re talking about a high definition movie you could be looking at up to 5GB of data. 

Audio is less intensive than video but if you are streaming live radio then this can take up quite a lot of bandwidth too.  If you tend to download programs and applications then these can be quite hefty as well, with some graphic design packages consuming 1.5GB or even more. 

Browsing the internet is fairly low intensity and if you spend half an hour browsing a day, you might push into a medium user profile but likely you’ll just be a light user profile.

If you’re viewing big pictures or social media, it may be that you are a higher profile up in the medium category because there’d be more data consumed from the high resolution images.

Talking to Your Provider

Before you do talk to your provider, find out what the best broadband deals are on the market.  This can help you judge the value that you’re receiving from your internet service provider and offer a point from which to negotiate.  If you can say that Virgin Broadband is currently offering a deal whereby they offer unlimited broadband for a certain amount and that you’re paying 50% more than this, and then can throw into the mix that Virgin broadband is available in your area and have been advertising to you, it maybe that you can get a discounted rate from your current service provider.

Similarly, if you have your internet speed test data you may be able to negotiate that they retrain your line and provide you some coverage guarantees in order to increase service levels you receive.  Your broadband router may also be out of date and they may need to send you a premium router to upgrade you and improve your connection set-up.

By making it clear that you’re willing to move away, the broadband provider may well pass you on to their retention teams that have more power to give you special discounts for loyalty.  Of course, you’re not happy with your current provider, then you should start the process of trying to get your connection issues resolved well before your renewal period.  This will eallow you to ascertain whether they can actually provide you the level of service that you require, and, if not, come the end of the contract, you can exit without any penalties.

Penalties for Exit

Even if you see the much better broadband deals on the market, you can’t just jump out of a contract without any financial implications.  A broadband contract is just that, a contract.  And you’ll have to fulfil your end of the bargain in order to terminate your relationship with the provider.  In some cases you can get reduced exit fees by negotiating with the provider and explaining that you’ve not receive the level of service that they had been guaranteed.  However, if you read the reviews of service providers on forums, you’ll see that just about every provider has a lot of negative.  They are not particularly worried about their online image so threatening them with a review online or any other negative publicity will not do any good.  The best approach is to stay polite and courteous and try and resolve the issues as amicably as possible.

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