Choosing a new broadband package can be a bit of a minefield. You’re being told by one provider that you should not compromise on your download speed, whilst another provider is making it clear that you need an unlimited usage package. Let’s face it most of us aren’t experts in the area so it is very easy to get confused or carried away with a great offer. However this may result in you being stuck with a service that does not fulfil your requirements.
With this in mind, what factors do we need to be considering before we make a decision?
What do you use the internet for?
Before you can really come to any sort of informed decision about the most suitable broadband package you must consider how much you use the internet, and what you use it for. Broadly speaking many internet users will fall into one of three categories; light, medium or heavy users.
A light internet user would not use the internet on a daily basis. For example, it would be used to check emails a few times a week or briefly surf the web. This type of user will be able to get away with one of the cheaper packages on the market. The monthly usage limit shouldn’t be too much of a problem (the lowest is usually around 2GB). A light user may find it easier to secure a 12 month contract.
Medium users may spend, on average, a couple of hours online each day. They will be sending and receiving emails, using social networking sites, downloading music or podcasts and streaming videos. If you are a medium user you are likely to need at least 10GB monthly usage. In terms of speed you would be comfortable with an up to 8Mbps package although, depending on your area, you may actually get between 2Mbps-8Mbps. You can check this by using an online broadband speed test.
A heavy broadband user would be using the internet for upwards of 4-5 hours per day. Downloading movies or streaming TV shows is a regular occurrence, whilst also uploading photos or music to social networking sites. Heavy users may also spend a lot of time playing online games, which can result in you flying over your usage limit. If you fall into the heavy user bracket then you will want to be looking at the higher end of the download speeds. Perhaps it may be advisable to check out some of the fibre optic broadband providers as these generally provide faster download speeds. You would also be looking to go for an unlimited usage package.
It is also important to consider the amount of people who will be using the internet service. For instance, a family with 3 teenagers are likely to be using the internet more than a person living on their own and the download limits may have to be increased or decreased accordingly.
How much do you want to pay?
This can be a significant factor in which broadband service you eventually opt for. It may also be decisive in regards to what type of internet user you can realistically be. If you’re willing to spend £30 per month on a fast, high usage broadband package then you are going to get a better service than if you had a £15 per month budget. It is important you remember that there are almost always additional fees for exceeding your broadband usage allowance. These fees will usually range from £5-£10 (depending on how many GB you go over) so it may end up costing you more to get the cheaper package!
Do you want a Broadband, TV and Phone package?
Lots of people find it easier to combine their broadband, TV and phone packages. One of the advantages to this is that it can reduce the hassle of having to setup all three services individually and it makes it easier to renew your services at the end of the contract. There are also lots of offers for the bundle packages but you must remember; just because it’s a good offer, it doesn’t mean that it will be the ideal fit for you.