What is broadband?
Broadband is a quicker way to connect your PC to the Internet. Most broadband connections are 512 kbps, which put simply means that your connection is approximately 10 times quicker than a normal dial-up Internet connection. The other key point to make about broadband is that it allows both Internet and telephone calls to take place simultaneously on the same land line. So people trying to ring you while your on the Internet will never get an engaged tone again.
What is ADSL?
ADSL is the technical term for broadband. ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It transforms a twisted copper pair of wires between a local telephone exchange and a customer’s telephone socket into a high-speed digital line. It is called “asymmetric” because it moves data more quickly from exchange to customer than from customer to exchange. This makes it particularly suitable for applications where customers expect to receive more data than they transmit, such as use of the Internet. Well, that’s the technical explanation over!
What does a quicker Internet connection mean to me?
It means that web pages will load a lot quicker than normal, they will appear almost instantly. It also means that you can download large files like video clips and MP3′s in a much shorter length of time. Not forgetting the fact that you can send and receive emails with large attachments quicker too.
I keep hearing about connection speeds, what are these?
Your basic standard old-fashioned dial-up connection is typically 56 kbps (kilobit per second). Most broadband connections are 8mbs. Therefore a 8mb broadband connection is approx. 140 times faster than a dial-up Internet connection. Although most broadband providers round this up to 150 times faster as it sounds better!
How can I use my telephone while I’m connected to the Internet?
Broadband enables both telephone calls and your Internet connection to operate on the same phone line simultaneously. This is achieved by plugging a filter (sometimes known as a splitter) into all phone sockets that are to be used allowing voice and Internet at the same time. A filter separates (or splits) the telephone signal from the broadband signal, therefore allowing telephone and Internet connection at the same time.
So I’ve got to pay out more money for a filter have I?
Not necessarily, most broadband providers offer at least one filter free of charge when you sign up with them. If they don’t you can buy them from places like www.ebuyer.co.uk for approx. £2 each.
What other equipment do I need to connect to broadband Internet?
You will need a broadband modem which also comes with a data cable as part of the package, some filters and that’s it!
Connection Fee: This is the cost of setting you up with broadband. Some providers don’t charge you and some charge up to £100.
Modem: Again some broadband providers offer a modem free whilst some charge from £20 to £100. Make sure you check to see if filters are included in the price too.
Cost per month: This is your subscription fee that you will have to pay every month. It includes all of your Internet calls.
Are there any other “hidden” costs?
The only other thing to be aware of is that some broadband providers may charge you a delivery fee for the modem. You also need to be aware of what the minimum contract is when you sign up. Most providers only work on a minimum 12 month contract but as the market gets more competitive some companies are offering 1 month minimum contracts.
Where can I go to choose a cheap broadband provider in the UK?
Click here for the latest broadband deals and special offers.