Some households go online to communicate with friends by email or social media or to do some light browsing of webpages when there is something specific they need to find out. Others spend hours browsing through various retailers sites, streaming music, films and videos, scouring YouTube for advice on anything from how to put on make-up to mending the car the possibilities can seem endless. So can the amount of time spent online. The Internet has changed the way we communicate, shop and enjoy media, so getting broadband right is important.
Choosing the right broadband package means balancing affordability against the speed of connection and amount of usage you need. Other factors such as length of contract, whether you prefer to stay with a particular provider (or switch), introductory offers and the possibility of combining broadband with a TV package can also weigh in, giving lots of choice but making the decision more complicated.
Choosing a truly unlimited package and superfast speed using either cable or fibre can effectively mean that your household can go online whenever they want and be free from concerns about usage, such as how many gigabytes it takes to stream high definition videos and films, and how long anyone has been browsing online researching big purchases or doing school or college projects. Not having to constantly monitor usage can remove a lot of strain, as young people may not be aware that they are using up much the months broadband allowance when, for example, streaming in high definition. Conversely, it can mean that encouraging them away from the computer becomes more difficult!
Staying in control of usage can be helpful, and is important if you choose a package with a limit. Programmes which allow households to monitor their usage are free to download, and are also available with many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as part of your package. This can help make deals with a usage limit remain an attractive option for many people. It will also show whether it is worth considering upgrading to unlimited if you are close to the maximum each month, or whether you are actually using far less than you anticipated. Where the package includes a set limit providers should notify you if you exceed this, but will also charge for extra gigabytes used. In addition, they may stop or restrict your access or upgrade you to a more expensive plan. Checking the details of what happens in this scenario is worthwhile so you know what to expect.
Getting a handle on current usage, and exploring the possibilities that a more expansive package offers, can help households focus on what they want from a broadband deal and what to look for when their current contract expires. Looking at usage in conjunction with speed could highlight that you would like to do far more online, but find media quality poor without high definition, or connection speeds tiresomely slow, so are not using the computer as much as you might. Shopping around each time the contract expires gives the opportunity to review the package you have and make sure you are still getting value for money.
Comparison sites are very useful as they do far more than simply offer a summary of the best current deals. It is also possible to check the actual download speed (and upload speed) you receive and compare it with what neighbours are achieving, giving an idea of what is possible should you switch provider/package. Others independent sites also offer free speed tests, and, as speed is crucial to your overall online experience, looking at this aspect of broadband may be the best place to start when contemplating switching or upgrading your package.
Author and industry expert Sam Jones is often asked what is llu? He refers people to http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/guides/what_is_llu/ which iis part of the advice and information section at uSwitch where all of the information can be found
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