Broadband is the most popular form of Internet service today. To get a basic understanding of broadband, we can think of this system much like a water hose. The wider the hose, the more water can travel from one destination to the other. In the very same way, broadband uses a “broader” transmission method to send and receive data. The only difference is that in this case, the “water” is actually bits of data. Now that we have developed a rather general overview, let's take a look at this truly revolutionary system in a bit more detail.
The Types of Broadband
We can classify broadband under two categories. The first is known as traditional broadband. Typically, this variant makes use of a wire that is known as a coaxial cable. This is actually a very similar cable to the one that a television would employ. All information is sent and received in the form of tiny electrical impulses. Due to the physical limitations of the wire, there is a maximum amount of data usage possible at any given time. The second alternative is known as fibre optic broadband. This uses pieces of light to send and receive information. As these tiny “bundles” of light are quite small, fibre optic broadband is known as supporting a higher bandwidth (in other words, a larger amount of data can be sent).
Factors to Take Into Account when Choosing a Provider
As you are already likely aware, there are several key factors to consider when choosing a broadband provider. Besides the price, what are some of the other services that are offered? Many will offer bundle deals which include telephone, television and Internet. These can be great ways to save funds. Also, do they boast unlimited data usage or is there a monthly cap? How widespread are their services and will switching from your current provider to a new one be associated with any termination fees?
Another important concern that should be mentioned here is the availability of traditional broadband as opposed to fibre optic cables. While fibre optics are becoming quite common throughout the United Kingdom, not all areas will have access to this technology. So, always check to see if you can enjoy fibre optic broadband.
The Top UK Providers of Broadband
Many consider the three top broadband providers within the United Kingdom to be Virgin Media, Talk Talk and BT. Not only are these the largest companies, but due to their size, you will have a number of different broadband plans to choose from. Let us take a look at the highlights of each in more detail.
- Virgin Media is able to offer broadband speeds of up to 50 megabytes per second. This is ideal if you plan on streaming videos, watching movies or downloading large files. Fibre optic speeds of up to 152 megabytes per second are also possible. Their monthly price is extremely low and broadband can be purchased as a standalone option or as part of a bundle.
- While the speeds of Talk Talk may not be as fast as Virgin Media, free unlimited broadband is offered for the first 12 months (then, you will pay a nominal fee). Free telephone calls between Talk Talk customers and a super-advanced router are other benefits.
- BT offers sports, documentary and movie packages, ideal for those who want to pick and choose which option suits them best while enjoying their normal broadband service. Unlimited data and free weekend calls are present in many of their plans while up to 76 megabytes of speed are possible. Note that fibre optic broadband is available for many BT customers.