Beginner's Guide To: Broadband

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The Independent Online

With so many different types of broadband deals available, it can be a confusing market for anyone signing up for the first time. The tips below should help you on the way to getting the best package for you.

Is broadband available in your area?

Homes in the vast majority of the UK can now receive broadband as long as they have a working phoneline. However, you may not be able to get broadband if you live in a very remote area, so this is the first thing to check.

Your chosen provider will be able to tell you whether their products are available where you live just from your postcode or landline telephone number.

How fast can you go?

The speed of your broadband is what determines how quickly an internet page will load up, or how long it will take to download attachments from an email.

According to the latest Ofcom report on UK broadband speeds, the average speed available in the UK is 3.6mbps (megabits per second).

Most providers have speed test tools on their websites that can tell you the maximum speed you are likely to obtain within seconds once you have given them your postcode or landline number.

Download caps:

Will you be going online occasionally for casual browsing and opening the odd email? Or will you be downloading all the latest films and music?

It is vital to think carefully about how you are going to use your broadband service before signing up to a plan, as it will affect your download requirements.

About MB of download capacity would be easily sufficient for a light user who only uses the internet every now and again. However, for those who will be using it on a regular basis for browsing and downloading, a package with unlimited usage is the best bet.

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