Category Archives: Best broadband deals

Best broadband deals

Broadband comparisons and reviews of several Internet Service Providers to help work out which are the Best Broadband Deals for UK internet users.

Contents
Fibre Optical Broadband
BE Broadband ADSL2 – Best Broadband Deals
The Post Office for Best Broadband Deals
Best Broadband deals – Virgin BT Tiscali or SKY
Best broadband deals
Broadband demographics evident at Glastonbury Festival

Broadband comparisons and reviews of several Internet Service Providers to help work out which are the Best Broadband Deals for UK internet users.

Fibre Optical Broadband

I’ve had a new fibre optical broadband and telephone service installed.

The BT Openreach vans have been busy in our area for months. The fibre optic cables were laid under the streets and up the telegraph poles, ready for anybody who wants to take advantage of the higher data speeds available with fibre optics, and to future proof homes connectivity. I’ve always had a pretty good service through the copper wires though, and since reliability rather than speed is my most important criteria, I elected to remain with my current sluggish and expensive but very reliable broadband provider. Well I would have done if I could have, but they had been taken over by another company, and then another in turn. So I was left on a legacy system yet again.

Finally, BT made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Six months totally free broadband and landline phone usage, including up to £5 worth per month calls to mobiles, no setup fee, no line rental, no charge for the modem, free to opt out again at any time. Supposedly it’s a trial to test the new voice over fibre service. Whatever. I notice Sky TV are offering similar broadband deals so it’s probably more of an enticement, because we all know how powerful the force of inertia can be, once you’ve plumped for one service or another.

Fibre Optical Broadband

Fibre Optical Broadband

I’m happy to have my house cabled up with fibre optics, all the way to the modem. The old copper wire system is still there, and working as I type, so I have a choice of two broadband connections, luxury. The fibre optic system is about two or three times as fast for downloads and browsing, but more like six or ten times as fast for uploads, which is great when I have a series of half a gigabyte music videos to upload to YouTube for example. Even running in the background, the three or four hour uploads used to degrade the general internet access quality for everybody else on the network, but that’s no longer the case. And I can watch live streaming HD TV channels such as the BBC iPlayer at the same time as uploads and other stuff going on simultaneously.

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BE Broadband ADSL2 – Best Broadband Deals

Best Broadband Deals

BE Broadband ADSL2

My BE fast broadband box arrived today but I can’t start using it before the activation date on Friday, which is a bit frustrating on the one hand but on the other it’s great that they actually sent it out two days earlier than they said they would. I only actually got my home land line switched back to BT last Friday so that means only one week without home broadband while making the two-step switchover. It seems to be a good idea to do this at a time of year when most people are thinking about going away on summer holidays rather than upgrading their info telecoms systems.

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The BE Broadband deal is the best for me because of the ADSL2 technology which allows speeds up to 24Mb and the Professional deal which has an option for faster uploading at the expense of a little bit of the huge download bandwidth. Upload speed is important to me when moving websites from one host to another, uploading high-definition theatre breaks video or loads of pictures to Flickr. It should also be just the job for ensuring my Tuesday Night broadcasts on Ustream.tv run smoothly. Not everybody can get the BE broadband deal, you have to be lucky enough to live near a telephone exchange which is equipped with ADSL2 capability and that hasn’t been rolled out all over the country yet. Well neither has ADSL1 yet! So location is still very important for getting the best broadband deals.

Mobile Broadband Dongle Deals

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In the interim we’ve been making do mostly with a couple of T-Mobile pay as you go mobile ‘broadband’ dongles. It’s the only deal we found that doesn’t tie you into a 12 month or longer contract but hasn’t been as successful as I’d hoped due to the 3Gb monthly data transfer limit which I quickly used up in less than a week. All the dongle deals have that though, even the longer contracts After that I expected to get progressively capped the following month, but no – the service just stopped working until the next calendar month which is no use to me. In fact the realisation that mobile broadband just isn’t good enough yet for business use makes the whole idea of location independent living seem more like a dream for the future than a practical reality for here and now.

Getting by temporarily without Broadband

I found it much harder than I expected to adapt to offline working with sporadic broadband access. After a few days I’d resorted to installing google gears for offline gmail reading, re-installed an old client RSS reader and installed WordPress Turbo (google gears again) on quite a few blogs for faster updating when I did get through. I finally got around to looking back through some old mini-dv tapes to capture some old video clips – very time-consuming, and I tidied up my applications and downloads folders a bit. I couldn’t really settle down to proper ‘flow state’ work though, and I suspect it would take weeks or more to really get back into the habit of working mainly in batch mode offline, if at all. The conclusion therefore is that a good, fast and 99.99% reliable broadband connection is absolutely essential to the conducting of any business even with just an online element to it. I would happily pay upwards of £100 per month for such a system if it existed, so the difference between a £9.50  a month cheap broadband deal service and a £24 one is not the price but the vital quality of service which needs to be the best.

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The Post Office for Best Broadband Deals

I think the Post Office might be one of the best broadband deals for anybody making the move from dial up to broadband for the first time because of the hand-holding you get with the setting up. It’s also a serious contender for anybody disatisfied with their present broadband provider and considering switching over. The Post Office have a simple choice of broadband and/or telephone package with a free calls option and either medium usage or unlimited downloads. With all broadband options there is no connection or setting up charge and with broadband unlimited you get a free wireless router. The homephone option also includes free calls to UK mobiles and twenty top international destinations.

Q Which are these top 20 destinations for free international phone calls?

A According to this new release from Royal Mail Group the list includes:

Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, USA.

For alternative broadband suppliers maybe check out Best Broadband Deals .org.uk

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Best Broadband deals – Virgin BT Tiscali or SKY

Which are the best broadband deals?

When you look at the newest cheap broadband deals or the latest supercharged fast connection with unlimited downloads promised, it’s hard to tell which broadband provider’s connection will be reliable and up to scratch until after you’ve already signed up for a 12 month contract or even longer.

But the great thing about the internet is that we no longer need to rely on advertisements for all the information that’s necessary to weigh up a service or product before buying. With a little bit of digging around, or just by keeping up to date with what friends are saying, it’s possible to get direct reports from real customers experience of a product, good or bad. In the past this would all have been screened out, and the only source of advice away from the salesmen in the shop would have been “the man in the pub”.

Vigin Broadband Example

For example, Steve Purkiss had a very bad experience with Virgin Broadband and published about it on his blog where anybody could see:

I’ve just cancelled my broadband service from Virgin after only one week. Why? Because today I woke up to find my ‘unlimited’ service had been throttled because I apparently used it too much. I’m now getting less-than-dial-up speeds and the service is all but useless to me

That’s just one really valuable piece of consumer generated information which can help anybody trying to work out which is the best broadband deal out of many under consideration with the main contenders being probably Virgin Broadband, BT, Tiscali and SKY.

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Best broadband deals

Best broadband deals – cheap broadband or Free Sky TV?

Working from home on the internet, one thing you absolutely have to to depend upon is a reliable and fast broadband connection. It’s a serious matter to consider changing Internet Service Provider(ISP) and start looking around for the best broadband deals.

For example it’s no use being a cheapskate and putting up with an average or poor service when it comes to having an efficient tool for the trade. On the other hand, whilst the cheap broadband options are sure to be compromised at some point, the most expensive broadband isn’t always the best broadband.

I mentioned on twitter that I’m looking for the best broadband deals and was then recommended Tiscali. I found out that my current ISP has actually been taken over by a company which has been subsequently bought up by Tiscali, so I’m already a customer of theirs by default, yet their website tells me my phone line is ineligible?!

Shifting Marketplace for cheap broadband

This is a constant change scenario. A few years back I was lucky enough to live in an area where the revolutionary Homechoice were piloting a new service. This included fast 1Mb broadband internet at a time when everywhere else was limited to 256 or 512K, bundled in with an on demand TV via copper wire (almost IPTV) which was superb in functionality.

Homechoice best broadband deals

As a broadband service provider this was easily the best deal available but they never managed to raise the cash to buy enough content to take off. That was before the unbundling of the local loop for telecomms, so BT were able to hold things back for them. Unfortunately Homechoice pulled out of my area when they moved on to the next generation of the IPTV service, and have since been acquired by O2. So I would not recommend using any of the smaller companies because you never know who you are going to end up with.

Free SKY TV

This history means that I am amenable to the idea of fast broadband internet being bundled in with a TV service, which is why I’m looking at SKY digital TV and broadband. The interesting broadband deal on offer currently is the basic SKY TV and broadband package for £16. You can look at that as either a free SKY TV service, bundled in with what you would normally pay for cheap broadband only, or as a free broadband offer for people who have always wanted the huge number of extra TV channels. If you have internet access out at work and mainly only use the home connection for browsing in the evenings and weekends then the best broadband deal is probably the SKY broadband Base package, whereas a home business worker or gamer would probably need to upgrade to the even faster speeds with totally unlimited bandwidth for an extra £5 or £10 a month.

SKY + and SKY HD

I’m not that bothered about the additional entertainment channels on offer at £1 a bundle, nor the premium films or live football but I must admit I’ve always been interested in the huge number of niche channels which become available free to air, upon becoming a SKY subscriber. Turkish TV, Punjab, Arabic and NTV for a start, and then the enormous back catalogue of nature documentaries and comedy which are not always available anywhere on freeview for example. And the geek in me is dying to have a play with the extra technology that can be added as a one-off. The SKY PLUS (SKY+) box which gives TIVO like functionality (pause and replay live TV, record one or two channels while watching something else) and clever software to record linked series. The Sky Multiroom client server network could be fun or the High Definition TV Sky HD box. There’s not much point in getting the HDTV though without getting a new TV set to do it justice, but if a new TV is on the cards then it might be worth making sure the best wiring and connections are installed ready for it as part of the setup deal.

Best Broadband Deals

Back to the broadband though, which could be the real justification for subscribing to SKY. I’ve noticed that the free basic broadband package is at 2Megabits per second, which is actually twice as fast as my old Homechoice connection used to be. The one that everybody envied. So that might well suffice given that a lot of what I do is text and graphic based interaction and browsing. It’s probably only if a lot of large downloads or streaming video are required that the upgrades would be required, but that’s completely flexible on a month by month basis anyway, so for the advantage of getting all those extra TV channels, functionality and gadgets the free broadband ‘base’ has to be one of the best broadband deals around. That’s without even mentioning the free weekend and evening telephone calls, cheaper than BT Together for calls to mobiles and international numbers, nor the “SKY Anywhere via TV” on-demand service which is included with any SKY+ box.

Reservations

My only reservations are that satellite TV is perhaps not the future. In the longer run, some people think that TV channels wont exist in the present format at all. It will all be “on demand” so nobody is ever watching the same programme at the same time. But the availability of on-demand music hasn’t killed radio has it? I have a theory that channels will be with us for a long time to come, alongside all of the personalised browsing, on-demand, skip and fast forward stuff. Besides it’s still the best broadband deal that is the main consideration for business, with the free Sky TV as a nice bonus for myself.

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Broadband demographics evident at Glastonbury Festival


Michael Eavis , the dairy farmer who runs Glastonbury music festival, blames the policy of selling all tickets online for the ageing of his audience this year.

Here’s the Metro version of the news

Glastonbury ‘too middle-aged’

Glastonbury mud

This year’s Glasto turned into a mud bath

Missed out on a Glasto ticket this year? Well, blame the broadband revolution … and your mum and dad.

Well-heeled thirty and fortysomethings used their super-fast Internet connections to beat teenagers to tickets for the festival this year.

Selling tickets online meant the three day festival – traditionally the preserve of a younger crowd seeking parties and musical debauchery – became ‘too middle- aged’ and even respectable, claimed event organiser Michael Eavis.

 

He said the lucky few who snapped up this year’s 137,500 tickets in just 1hr 45min were likely to be older people, with the money for fast Internet connections, while the number of 16 to 18-yearolds had fallen.

 

A silly story really, but informative concerning perceived and actual demographics of internet access and broadband penetration.
The BBC Radio 4 Today Programme presenter though that it was extraordinary to suggest that teenagers couldn’t access the internet, but at what time of day did the tickets go on sale?

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Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about Best broadband deals on the DARnet Blog