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What broadband options are available?

Broadband options available to you:

The market for broadband now offers a range of alternatives to suit your needs. Depending on your location and what your intended usage is, there will be different factors to take into account when choosing.

Price is just one concern, since availability and performance also vary depending on your situation. The main options are standard ADSL, ADSL2+, mobile broadband (3G or 4G), cable, fibre or satellite.

ADSL

This is the standard form of broadband and is enabled through the BT owned standard infrastructure. Other companies can use this network and pay a fee to BT (thanks to a regulation measure known as local loop unbundling) and there are therefore many providers to choose from. IN terms of speed, most customers can avail of around 30Mbps as a baseline, but this will vary throughout the day and could be much higher. The distance from the exchange will have a big impact on your speeds and also be impacted by the age of the copper wires in your area. ADSL is quite reliable, and overall is the best choice for most consumers.

ADSL2+ is the next generation of this technology and is available to many parts of the UK. It allows for even faster speeds. There are some areas where neither are available however, so it is worth checking before you start shopping around for broadband services. Another benefit of ADSL is that it can be setup quite easily from the existing phone connection with some extra equipment.

Mobile broadband

The speeds possible with mobile broadband is heavily dependent on your location and the time of day. Anther factor is if you can get access to a 4G signal which is faster, or the slower 3G signal which was used before. Other factors such as the construction of your building or any building obstructions nearby (like high apartment blocks) could impact your signal.

The top speeds achievable with 4G are usually around 60Mbps+, and another advantage of mobile broadband is that it can be used anywhere you can get mobile signal.

Fibre optic broadband

This is the future of internet, providing the fastest speeds recorded. 100Mbps is around the norm for fibre, and while it is more expensive and harder to set up, it can be very useful for those who stream a lot of content or download many movies, for instance. However, it is not available to many places but availability is increasing.

Cable broadband

Very similar to fibre-optic broadband, it has much the same drawbacks and advantages. The fastest cable broadband can give speeds of up to 300Mbps.

Satellite broadband

This is much more of a niche option for very remote areas (and is more costly and less efficient), but is good in that it means that all residents of the UK can access broadband of some form.