For many, the criterion for their new broadband deals is getting as much speed as possible, for as little as possible. But do you want, or need, all that extra speed? In 2009, 4.1Mbps was considered a fast broadband speed. Back in the day, most of us were happy surfing the net, writing emails, and connecting to this new thing called Facebook. All at a speed of a mere 4Mbps.
Now, some 10 years later, the average UK broadband speed is over 50Mbps. Yes, the internet has also changed out of all recognition. The size of operating systems has grown exponentially. Millions, if not billions more people worldwide are now connected to the internet. Online gaming has gone from a hobby to a multi-million dollar industry, and on social media you can chat to thousands of friends you’ve never met.
Web page download times are almost instantaneous. Streaming is now the norm, and films that a few years ago took days to download, are downloaded in minutes. None of this could have been achieved on the old download speeds of 2009. Nonetheless, many today pay for the maximum download speed available, without needing all that extra capacity.
Get broadband commensurate with your internet needs.
Broadband speeds are governed by the set-up, and type of cable or fibre used in its supply. A standard connection using old BT copper wire (ADSL) from the exchange to the recipient will provide a download speed of around 6.1Mbps, and ADSL2, an improved version, will provide speeds of up to 20Mbps. However, much depends on how far away your home is from the exchange.
Companies such as Virgin Media, use a mix of fibre optic cables to the cabinet (FTTC), and coax to the premises, providing a download speed of around 30Mbps+. Other providers such as Plusnet, TalkTalk, BT, Tesco, Now Broadband, and Sky offer packages using fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), and copper to the premises, providing speeds up to 38Mbps, and fibre to both the cabinet and premises, (FTTP) provides a speed of up to 76Mbps.
All the main broadband suppliers, Plusnet, BT, Virgin Media, Sky, Now Broadband, and others, offer a range of packages to suit all users, and comparison sites like Broadband Choices can help you pick the best deal for your needs. The chances are, a single middle-aged user, or a retired couple, are unlikely to require the same download speed as a family with two or three children, all using their own devices at the same time.
Before surfing your comparison sites for the best deals ask yourself these questions.
How many internet devices (smartphones, laptops) do you have?
How regularly are family members surfing the internet?
How often are you on Netflix or other streaming sites used?
If you have three or four devices, (two laptops and two smartphones), are surfing the web regularly, and occasionally use Netflix or similar, a standard package with download speeds of around 8-10Mbps should cover your needs. On the other hand, if you have a family of four or five, with six, eight, or more devices, someone always surfing the internet, and others streaming Netflix or online gaming, you will probably need a package providing 35-70Mbps.
While choosing to use copper over fibre will save you money, most providers also offer a range of package deals and TV and mobile bundles. Visiting a comparison site like Broadband Choices will show you the best deals, and compare like for like from all the major suppliers.