Choosing the best broadband package isn’t always easy. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for broadband because people use the internet for very different things, so the first step is to figure out what you’re actually going to need from your broadband connection.
What kind of broadband package do I want?
Broadband Deals - if you are just starting out, it's likely that you're looking for a package that's easy to set up, not too expensive and offers good customer support.
Heavy-Use Broadband Deals - you know you are a heavy-user if you enjoy downloading oodles of songs and movies using peer-to-peer software or you're a big fan of online gaming. Either way, our heavy-use packages are the ones to look out for.
Business Broadband Deals - these packages differ from consumer deals as they offer extras like static/fixed-IPs, webspace and email addresses as well as routers and secuity suites.
Mobile Broadband Deals - if you access the Internet primarily from your laptop, then mobile broadband is an option worth considering - whether to be used at home or on the go. Mobile broadband providers will send you a 'dongle' (modem) that you plug into the USB slot on your laptop to access the Internet, at broadband speeds, wherever there's mobile phone coverage.
Family Broadband Deals - with more and more devices like laptops, tablets, TVs, set-top boxes and gaming consoles connecting to the Internet, families have specific needs that are best catered for by certain providers.
How fast is it?
There are a lot of factors that can affect your choice, but the biggest is probably the connection speed, and it’s worth remembering that speeds are always “up to”. Your ISP will share your line with other customers (which is why it’s slower at peak times) and the distance of your house from the telephone exchange, plus the quality of the cabling used, will also affect the actual speed considerably.
Super-Fast Broadband – generally offering speeds of up to 100Mb, or up to 120Mb in select areas. With an unlimited data allowance this is the all-you-can-eat Las Vegas buffet of the broadband world.
Fast Broadband – with speeds of up to 38Mb, this is a seriously good middle-ground. This will allow you to stream HD, download HD, upload movies and game heavily, but at peak times you may notice a slight downturn.
Cheap Broadband – These packages can handle all the little things, with TalkTalk's cheapest offering priced less than £4 per month for a connection of up to 14Mb.
You’ll have no problem checking emails, surfing, laughing at cats on YouTube or sharing photos on Facebook. You’ll be able to download and game reasonably quickly, but not in amazing quality, and with all these things going on at once you’ll really notice it struggling.
Data limits are also a big part of package choice. For home or business broadband (i.e. not mobile) the limits vary from 10GB per month to unlimited GB per month. Any extra data used is chargeable, with these rates varying between ISPs.
For 3G and 4G mobile broadband the limits tend to be a lot lower, usually between 500MB and 1GB. Although unlimited mobile broadband deals exist, they are harder to find.
If you’re an average user with average needs, this can be the major decider in your choice of provider. Visit our [broadband provider page] (/broadband/providers "Broadband Providers") to see what people are saying about customer service, reception and advertised vs actual speeds.
Now you know what you need...
Check which packages are available in your area using the uSwitch [broadband postcode checker] Enter your postcode into our broadband postcode checker to see which options are available in your area. Once you know that you can start comparing deals on factors such as price, contract length and download limits.
Click on the broadband provider logos on our homepage to read reviews from other broadband users and find out what they think about the different Broadband Providers.
Our how to choose broadband guide offers lots of help to broadband shoppers.
As a note of caution, we find that a very high percentage of feedback we get on our site is from frustrated broadband users angry with their provider. This means that many people use our ‘review’ options to let off steam, venting their frustration about their ISPs. You may want to disregard some of the more heated comments as we at uSwitch have heard positive feedback about every ISP on our site at one time or another. A good idea is to talk to friends and family about what broadband provider they recommend to get the inside line on which providers are the best.