Broadband is a major purchase and you don’t want to get it wrong. A good broadband for your home is important, especially if you work from home, yet there are plenty of bad deals out there. So, before you rush into making a deal with a provider, check out these 7 tips for choosing the best broadband for your home.
- Check availability
First, you want to know what are your options when it comes to finding a service provider. Although most companies are available nearly anywhere, you don’t want to start researching a specific company only to find out later it doesn’t even provide a good deal where you live.
The easiest option is to use a postcode checker online. You just need to input your postcode and the site will list out all the companies offering services at your location, together with some indication to the speeds available. You can also check with individual companies, which have postcode trackers on their site.
- Keep in mind line rental options and costs
Most service providers still require an active phone line to work, with Hyperoptic being the exception. You should check with the service provider whether line rental is needed and if it is, could they provide it to you and at which cost. Bundles tend to work out to be the cheapest, although you might sometimes be better off getting your line rental opened with another company. If you’re already paying for the phone line to a company like BT, check whether you could save by adding the line rental to your broadband deal.
- Find out what speeds you can expect to receive
When it comes to finding the right deal, the broadband speed is often the most crucial factor. You need to carefully consider what you need from the broadband. If you spend a lot of time working online and downloading things, you might want to invest in higher speeds. For example, if you often stream movies or TV shows, you don’t want to have a slow connection.
Fibre option is the speedier broadband option and if you want a healthy speed, you definitely want to consider it. If you do hardly use the Internet and when you do, you just check social media and perhaps pay the bills online, you might be better off saving your money. You could consider upgrading later.
The key to the speed is to remember the promise on the tin doesn’t always mean the same on the inside, i.e. you need to understand the fine print. Broadband providers tend to promise speeds of “up to X and Y”, which mean almost anything below it is fine. So, ensure to know what is the minimum speed promised and do some research into the actual speeds in the area.
- Understand monthly usage limits
While speed is harder to choose, providers have a variety of deals in terms of the usage allowances. Again, you should carefully consider how much data you want to download each month to ensure you don’t end up using (and paying!) more than you asked for. For single users that don’t use the Internet as much, 10-30GB is probably sufficient. If you have more users in the house or you spend most of your time streaming things, look for something more.
- Check the contract lengths
You also need to be careful with the length of the contract. The most common deals come with a 12 to 24 month contract, but more providers are coming into the “No Contract” space, such as Relish. If you know you might be moving soon, check what the determination or transfer clauses are. You don’t want to end up with a contract that’s hard to get out of.
- Be wary of the extra charges
The cost of your broadband (monthly) and the line rental cost are not the only things you might end up paying for. Therefore, always ask the provider to explain you in detail what additional charges are included. You need to know the actual total amount to pay before you sign anything. Keep an eye on the charges that providers tend to attach to your broadband contract:
- The activation fee – usually a one off fee required covering the possible costs of an engineer’s visit.
- Installation and activation fee – required if you need an engineer to visit the property. In most instances, you should be able to install the broadband yourself, so check for this option.
- Delivery charge – you will most likely receive a wireless router with your contract and this could have a delivery fee attached to it.
- Payment fees – note that payment by another method than Direct Debit can add extra monthly charges.
- Billing fees – opt for e-billing if possible, as you may be charged for paper bills.
- Consider going for bundles
The most popular service providers, like Sky, Virgin Media and BT, often provide more than just broadband and the phone line – you could also enjoy TV and entertainment packages. If you are a big sports fan or you love watching movies, these might be worth looking into. Bundles such as these often come with extra options for saving. Virginmedia.com offers vouchers that could cut costs of your broadband, so browse the net and price comparison sites carefully before making the final decision.
Finding the right broadband for your home will take careful planning and proper research. But with the above tips, you know what the key points are during your search.