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What broadband speed is best for me? This depends entirely on how many people live in your household, the internet-connected devices you have, as well as how often you need to upload/download content. Broadband speeds are measure in what’s called megabits (Mb) per second. The larger the Mbs amount, the faster and more seamless your broadband speed will be.
- 0-15Mbs: At this speed it will generally take around 5 minutes to download one episode of a TV show. It should be fast enough for small homes or apartments with one or two people living in them, providing you don’t mind about watching content at the absolute best quality. Too many folks using the internet, though, and your TV stream is at risk of being interrupted.
- 25-50Mbs: Looking for the happiest medium between good value and great speed? This is the sort of range any average household will want to be looking at. If you have a family of five all using different internet devices, up to 50Mbs shouldn’t see anyone suffer. A single TV episode should take just over a minute to download.
- 50-100Mbs: Multiple people hoping to stream their favourite films and TV shows at 4K quality will most certainly need at least 50Mbs of broadband speed. Is it more expensive? Yes, but then you can live care-free in the knowledge that you should never be subjected to lag. These superfast broadband speeds are generally offered with extra incentives.
- 100Mbs+: This level of connection has been dubbed ‘Ultrafast’ by all the major broadband providers, and is really only of use to business looking to give smooth speeds to employees. The value proposition simply isn’t there for UK households most of the time. Plus, the likes of BT and Talk Talk currently only offer this in select parts of the country.
What is the average broadband speed in the UK? According to regulator Ofcom’s most recent report, the average broadband speed in the UK stands at around 71.8Mbs. This obviously falls in line with the speed that most homes in this country will need, and is well above the minimum that all UK broadband providers are now expected to fulfil.
How long a contract should I go for? It’s rare that you’ll be able to secure a broadband deal contract for less than 12 months. In fact, locking you in for just a year is now also becoming incredibly rare. Instead, most internet plans now require an 18-month contract length minimum, while the likes of Vodafone and BT stretch that even farther to 24-months. How long you’ll be in your current home will dictate the length of broadband contract you should get.
What if fibre broadband isn’t available in my area? Believe it or not, speeds of 50Mbs and above are still not available in certain parts of the country. This can be incredibly disappointing for players who live in these areas and like to regularly game online. If your home’s current wiring can’t support the high speeds made possible with fibre, it’s worth seeking out traditional broadband alternatives like Vodafone’s Gigacube. This option tends to be expensive, but provides high-speed Wi-Fi to your home using the 5G mobile network.
Can I cancel my broadband plan early? As is typically the case with phone contracts, you can cancel your broadband plan early but it usually comes with an exit fee. Generally, sticking it out is the better option, particularly if it works out to be cheaper than the fee you could end up paying.
Are there any upfront fees with a broadband contract? Sometimes. It really depends on the home internet plan you end up going for. Most of the major broadband providers require an upfront cost to be paid before they deliver your router. The price can vary depending on the package you’ve negotiated. To stay more competitive, though, some internet providers scrap this upfront or activation fee entirely.
UK gamers have a range of options to choose from when it comes to available broadband providers. And while you’d think at first glance that most just offer similar packages, the truth is that each has a different strength that could sway your final decision. Do you want the fastest speeds, cheapest bills or most reliable connection? Here’s a brief breakdown:
BT: A reliable connection with ultrafast speeds in select UK areas.
Virgin Media: Some of the highest speeds available in the UK.
Sky: A good all-rounder with some impressively high speeds.
Vodafone: Great value and reliable fibre internet.
EE: A good middle-ground between price and performance.
Plusnet: Almost always the cheapest option for fibre and ADSL internet.
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