Broadband Phone Service

What the hell is Broadband?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Hi,

I've just been hearing that that NTL/Telewest have been sending out 'FREE' upgrades to their customers

Customers have been promised 4MB upgrades from their normal 1MB service and a new very fast 10MB upgrade for existing 2MB customers!

I guess the recent NTL/Telewest merger has something to do with this - so now might be a very good time to check out and take advantage of these fantastic offers

More soon...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

To tell you the truth I am a little bit confused by this whole Broadband phone service thing

I know that there are so many different broadband options availabe today but to be honest that's part of my gripe here

I recently went into the high street shop of a well-known Broadband service provider only to find that the snotty-nosed salesperson didn't cater for my er... level of understanding

Throwing incredibly rapid fire jargon about Broadband routers and wireless connections he tried to dazzle me with mbps per second and the latest gadgetry accompanying his spiel

I was getting increasingly frustrated at this point and my devious mind was busy concocting various scenarios to thwart him in his flow

I know, I thought ... I''ll ask him a question. It took 3 attempts - the words spilling out of my mouth firmer each time for it register with him that there was indeed someone else in the shop

I could see his brain working feverishly to catch up with his professional etiquette and reluctantly he swallowed almost choking on his own spit

He fixed me with a manic gaze and waited expectantly... In his mind he had already dismissed me and couldn't wait to triumphantly crow about his superior knowledge at my naive questions

I looked at him steadfastly and began... I recently read that the jury was still out on the serious harm that radio waves do especially in the confined space of one's home, perhaps you're aware of this, I asked innocently?

To cut a long story short, he choked, spluttered and muttering unintelligibly under his breath disappearing into the dim confines of an inner office

To tell you the truth, I have never ever read anything about radio waves much less any problems that are associated with it but suffice to say that it made me absolutely determined to find out all I could about this broadband phone service thing

Weeks later and the reason for my preamble is - this is what I came up with...


What is broadband?

Here's the official description - 'broadband' is a high-speed always on Internet connection with the main advantages over a traditional dialup Internet connection with an ordinary modem being:

  • The Internet connection is always accessible when the computer is turned on - there is no waiting to dial out
  • You can make phone calls using the same line and at the same time you are using the Internet
  • The connection is much faster, usually 10 times or more faster than dialup modem

Broadband is available using two main technologies, ADSL and cable modems. Both ADSL and cable modems have limited availability depending upon the area you live in

You can check availability of cable modems and ADSL at http://www.blueyonder.co.uk and http://www.bt.com/broadband



Cheapest possible broadband?

Below are a few providers that I came across in my research but as with all things this information may go out of date quickly

UK Online currently offer the cheapest price for a broadband service at £9.99 a month for an unlimited 512 kbit/sec service

On the face of it this seems like a pretty good deal, beacause it substantially undercuts other providers. UK Online have an availability checker on their website; to check availability in your area you need a BT phone number and postcode.

The cheapest broadband service we have seen without also paying for phone line rental is £17.99 from Telewest Blueyonder.

Broadband without a phone line

Many people would like to get broadband Internet access but do not have or want a telephone line. Unfortunately this is difficult, or ends up as expensive as it would be to get the phone line anyway.

  • Home user ADSL services require a telephone line - the ADSL signal runs over the phone line. It isn't possible to get a domestic ADSL service unless you have a phone line. The cheapest service from BT is 'BT Together Option 1' for £10.50 a month. Remember the ADSL can come from BT or other providers.
  • Bulldog can provide broadband without a BT phone line, but youmust also take a phone service from them, and also charge £10.50 per month line rental, plus £29.50 per month for unlimited broadband up to 8Mbit in speed
  • Telewest will provide broadband via a cable modem without a phone line. Their cheapest service is £17.99 a month without a phone line for an unlimited 512 kbit/sec connection

Download Caps/Usage Limits

Many broadband services have now introduced 'download caps' - i.e. a limit to the amount of data you can download per month. Apparently this cap is meant to reflect the real costs of providing the service and to prevent a small number of users consuming an excessive proportion of capacity

If you have a single computer connected to broadband and just use a little web surfing and email then a bandwidth cap probably won't trouble you at all and in some cases you can even benefit from the lower prices of capped products

If you do opt for a broadband service with a bandwidth cap, it's worth checking in advance what happens if you exceed the monthly cap - the last thing you want is to receive an unexpected bill or a restriction of your broadband phone service

Two providers that have firmly announced that they do not have caps and do not intend to introduce them are Telewest BlueYonder and Zen Internet

Fastest possible broadband?

At present the fastest domestic broadband services currently available are 8Mbit ADSL from UKOnline and Bulldog

Telewest Blueyonder offer services up to 4Mbit

So there you have it....who needs snotty-nosed pontificating when the information you need is widely and freely available online

The moral of this essay is - do your own research first - it will definitely pay-off in the long run