Guest post - Broadband: UK style

This article was contributed by Kerry Butters on behalf of Broadband Genie, the consumer advice site for finding the best UK broadband

Broadband in the UK

When it comes to choosing a broadband provider in the UK, it can seem a little daunting at first, with many options available. Whilst there are special offers everywhere, if you change provider you also have to give consideration to your specific needs. If you know exactly what you’re looking for in a broadband deal, it makes it far easier to shop around for a service tailored to your requirements.

Very often customers go with whatever is convenient. If your ISP also provides your television channels and phone line, you can get a package that is one payment per month, thus making it easy to understand exactly what you’re paying for, with just one direct debit to pay. Just because you are paying for all three in one go, it doesn't necessarily mean you’re getting the best offer.

If you don’t use the internet that often and your priority when choosing a provider is cost, there are some great deals available. Companies offering broadband from as little as £3.25 per month as an introductory offer for the first 9/12 months. These offers tend to have speeds of around 14Mbit/s to 16Mbit/s.

This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have to watch you’re downloading at the same time. Many providers giving these offers have unlimited downloads as part of the package and as such, these offers are certainly worth considering.

There are even companies that offer fibre optic broadband, unlimited downloads, free calls at weekends and evenings and to users of the same supplier with up to 30Mbit/s for £4.00 with free installation. Very good for an 18 month contract.

However, as always it isn’t that easy for everyone. The UK ranks pretty low in the European ranking when it comes to broadband. There are still millions of homes across the country with low internet speeds and no access to fibre optic broadband and whilst the government’s claims that 90% of all UK homes will have superfast broadband  by 2015, experts, including some ministers, have already questioned the viability of this. The government have a plan to invest £680 million over the next three years and many believe this just isn’t enough to fulfil their promises.

Another very important thing to bear in mind when choosing your broadband supplier is that claims of “speeds up to” are just that. The fact that a provider is claiming speeds up to in a certain area, doesn’t necessarily mean your home will get that speed. If you’re considering changing your provider for one that is advertising quicker speeds, it makes sense to do your homework first and look into what users of that supplier in your area are saying about it.

Internet Service Providers claims and user’s experiences are often poles apart. The best thing to do is go on forums, see what people in your neighbourhood are saying are the best suppliers, as they are often far more reliable than the ISP’s themselves. Nevertheless, broadband in the UK is regulated by Ofcom and this is something that they say they are addressing as we speak.

If the government are to be believed though things aren't looking too bleak for the future. The UK hopes to be a European leader in broadband by 2020. If this is the case, then they are going to have to get a move on very soon.