Home Broadband Explained
The usage of the internet has been progressively on the rise for years now. UK too has seen increase and expansion of internet use. Use of the home broadband has become widespread and accepted as a utility by most residents. In fact according to Office for National Statistics (2011), 62% of Britons shop online. So Home Broadband has great potential, in many ways, in the near future.
Broadband providers in the UK include BT, Orange, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky, O2 and Three. They offer various packages according to the requirements of home and individual users. Three actually offers mobile broadband through its 3G network. Some offers from providers are on for a long time and some may not be available after a period. So take advantage of the best offer, if you can or need such a one.
Factors to be considered
When picking up a home broadband connection you should consider the use of all family members and number of users, if you are not alone. So first consider the broadband speed, the period of contract and of course the pricing. Also consider generally the reputation of the provider, as local conditions may influence the quality of service you get, if you opt for a fixed line. Take into consideration of what special offers or freebies are being given at that time.
Consider factors that can affect your broadband speed, which include the quality of the modem/router, type of connection through wire or cable and your hardware or computer. The wireless connectivity depends on the strength of the signal available in the area. Wireless can be opted if you are a constant traveller and need to be in touch constantly.
Types of Broadband available
The most available type of broadband technology is ADSL. Almost all of Britain can be provided with this type of broadband connection.
ADSL: The ADSL broadband can be provided through a BT landline. You can also opt for the ADSL2 connection provided by BE and O2.
Cable Broadband: The fibre optic cable technology provides fast broadband to consumers and is similar to ADSL. Providers include Virgin Media and BT Infinity. Speeds can be provided up to 100Mbps.
Home Broadband Providers
The service provider is another factor for consideration. If you want high-speed internet, then you should consider Virgin Media, which offers broadband on its fibre optic cable network. BT too offers good coverage over the UK and offers good deals for its excellent service. TalkTalk also offers good value. O2 on the other hand are known for their customer orientation and service. Virgin is now the only provider to offer the 100Mbps speed to its customers through its network.
Broadband at home helps you to surf the net, play games and caters to a variety of things, many you might like to do. One provider may have an advantage that others may not have, which can be preferred by you. Providers also give freebies or special offers from time to time. Keep a watch on them and switching over to another provider too wouldn't be that difficult, provided you stand to gain. Some of the major providers are mentioned here.
Sky: The British Sky Broadcasting markets as Sky. Sky offers TV, Broadband and Phone services in the UK. Sky is a popular satellite television service which also offers broadband through its vast fibre optic cable network which connects 3 million homes. Sky TV customers get good deals on Sky Talk and Sky Broadband.
Three: Three provides in UK a wide range of products and price plans for broadband users, having also the country's biggest 3G network. Three covers 97 per cent of the UK population for internet on phone and Mobile Broadband. From 2009 over a quarter of the UK's population had smartphones and the numbers are increasing.
BT: BT is the oldest telecommunications company in the world. It is also one of the largest telecommunications services companies in the world with global operations. It took its present form in 1991. It serves the needs of customers in UK and 170 countries. It's the provider of fixed-line services, broadband and mobile services. It also provides networked IT services as well as TV products and services. BT has presently crossed the 5 million premises mark with its super-fast broadband (SFBB) network.
BE: BE Un Limited is part of the Telefonica group, which also owns O2, and is an Internet Service Provider in UK. It offers through BT's telephone exchanges the ADSL2+ services. It is now rapidly expanding across the UK.
Orange: Orange is UK's mobile network operator which also has internet service. It is owned by France Telecom in this brand name. It has formed a joint venture with T-Mobile called Everything Everywhere. It serves nearly 17 million customers with mobile and internet services.
Plusnet: Plusnet provides broadband, phone and super-fast fibre broadband in the UK. Broadband speeds up to 40Mbps are provided. It is based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and owned by the BT Group since 30th January, 2007.
Virgin Media: The company was formed in 2006 by the merger of NTL and Telewest. It was then merged with Virgin Media UK in 2007. Virgin Media is a US based company. It owns its own fibre-optic cable network in the UK. By December 2010 it had customers totalling nearly 4.8 million. Of this around 3.78 million subscribed to the television services. 4.01 million were using the broadband internet service. Approximately 4.16 million were fixed-line telephone customers.
TalkTalk: TalkTalk is a telecommunications company providing telephone, mobile, pay television and internet service based in London. Originally a subsidiary of The Carphone Warehouse, it's now a independent company.
O2: The UK based telecommunications company O2 is also a Telefonica owned company under this brand name. A mobile and broadband internet service provider, it is the second largest telecommunications provider in the UK and has about 18.4 million customers.
AOL: AOL is a Internet Service Provider of UK owned by Carphone Warehouse since 2006. They are part of the TalkTalk Telecom Group. They provide broadband and telephone services. Subject to location and package speeds up to 24Mbps are offered.
T-Mobile: This telecommunications company operates in the UK. T-Mobile UK is a mobile broadband provider and mobile network operator. The company is owned by Everything
Everywhere, probably the largest operator in UK.
Vodafone: This is a UK based telecommunications company. Vodafone head-quartered in London , UK is part of the world's largest telecommunications company. Vodafone provides broadband through its 3G network.
Fair Use Policy
Although an internet service provider may offer unlimited downloads, generally this is subject to the "fair usage policy". This means during peak hours the usage of one user should not affect the usage of all others on the service, hence the usage is limited to give a fair advantage to all users. This is to give equal quality of broadband as available to the maximum number of customers online.
Another factor is the "contention ratio". The number of people who share a connection or the ISP bandwidth is called the contention ratio. This the case when there are many users in one household which is connected. Or when an SME client gets a connection for his business.
Being connected to the internet also means being exposed to some security risks. The risk of being hacked, of phising, or identity theft and vulnerability to virus of different levels. The target usually is your personal information. Using this information, fraudsters can cheat or rob you of money, or exploit you in other ways. Therefore install an anti-virus package which has to be regularly updated to keep you safe. It's advisable to install a firewall, to protect against malicious intruders and hackers. Wireless enabled devices on WiFi are also vulnerable. So secure your wireless connection from external invasion. To position your hub centrally, encrypt your relay and secure your SSID, are all advisable methods.
Beware of suspicious emails, as phising and pharming are increasing. Be careful when using credit cards online for purchases or while transacting online through internet banking. Check if online retailers use SSL software to be safe. Your ISP may also have something to offer in the package or as an add on, with regard to security, so just check them out.