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comparing broadband / phone / TV packages

(6 Posts)
stilllovingmysleep Sun 08-Nov-15 06:46:06

when comparing broadband / phone / TV packages, I see there's a great variation in terms of broadband speed. Most go up to 17Mbps. But some (eg BT) offer 38Mbps or even up to 50 Mbps.

Is this something I should consider before signing on to a new package or should I go for a 17Mbps package and that's fine? How can I find out what my current home is using in order to compare (we're about to move home hence the research).

stilllovingmysleep Sun 08-Nov-15 09:43:46

bumping this as I would love some advice

wizzler Sun 08-Nov-15 16:34:02

watching with interest as I am in same boat... also coming to terms with potentially changing email addresses after 10 years with the same one confused. 10 year old DS happy to put himself in the role of consultant .. and at the moment that is my best option!

Ferguson Mon 23-Nov-15 19:38:59

There are several on-line sites where you can monitor and check internet speeds, both download and upload I think.

The really fast packages are probably fibre-optic services, so may not be available everywhere. And remember NONE of these speeds are guaranteed, so you may only get a fraction of the advised speed.

But internet packages are a MINEFIELD, and you really need to consult a local expert, and even then there is a vast amount of 'fine print' in the T&Cs, so take great care with what you sign up to.

amicissimma Sun 29-Nov-15 19:03:53

You can check your current speed by going into Control Panel/Network and Internet/Network and Sharing Centre then right clicking on your internet connection and a box will come up with your information, including speed, on it. (This is Windows 8, other OS should be similar)

As Ferguson says, the fast internet is fibre-optic. The OpenReach site should be able to tell you whether it's available in your area, and if not, if it's likely to be. But I can't get the site to work. You might be able to tell by finding a dirty great metal box, with cooling 'holes' (my technical term) at the end of your road. If there's only a BT cabinet with no ventilation you could be unlucky.

You might have cable. If you Google, there's probably a way of finding out. Often there is one provider for your street, so you would have to sign up with that provider, or not at all. They will probably have a myriad of different deals to chose from.

If you don't have fibre or cable, you are stuck with the BT line. Whichever provider you go with will provide your broadband down that line and you are limited by the speeds the copper wire can cope with. In some situations speeds will drop when neighbours using the same wire are all on line at the same time. Even if you have fibre, it might be 'fibre-to-cabinet', which means that you will have fibre to the cabinet (at the end of your road, round the corner, wherever) and then BT copper wire between the cabinet and your house, with the speed limitations that brings. In these cases TV through an aerial/dish (free or subscription) could be your best bet.

Armed with that information it's worth having a look at providers' websites to see what they offer. If you may need any installation work done (eg BT line re-instated) you might find a considerable difference in how soon they can get an engineer to do that for you. My personal preference is PlusNet because I have been with them for years, their prices are reasonable, their Helplines are UK (Sheffield) based and their staff have always been charm and helpfulness personified. They have been able to tell me what sort of connection I have, too.

BackforGood Sun 29-Nov-15 19:17:44

Thanks amicissimma - that's really useful to me. I want to threaten to leave my provider but need to find out if I can get such good broadband elsewhere so that's really helpful.

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