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.

6 replies
  1. Paul Brislen
    Paul Brislen says:

    Hi Billy,

    any and all offers in the market are relevant – especially in the telco sector where churn is as high as 30% and customers are always looking for a new deal.

    The telcos themselves tell me they operate on the basis of rolling new offers designed to attract customers back and forth – this is the market standard over here and I would suggest it’s much the same in the UK.

    On top of that, it’s usually the challengers that have the better/more innovative pricing. In Australia I’d look at iiNet not Telstra, in the UK I’d look at Tescos, in New Zealand it’s companies like 2Degrees Mobile or Snap that are leadiing the fight in terms of value. Incumbents tend to be the last to move.

    Reply
    • billy
      billy says:

      depedns on what you are actually trying to compare though.
      If you want to compare the chepaets possible deal then fine, but if you want to compare what people are actually paying though, looking at ISPs that have virtually no customers seems largely pointless.
      Look at the top 5 or so and compare their prices to see what most people are actually paying.

      And if churn is as high as 30% (which I doubt) then this means average life of a customer is around 3 years – which is why introductory offers aren’t espeically relevant.

      the other point not inlcuded in the article was that the 3-4GBP pricing is for broadband only which still requires a landline at a cost of around 10-2GBP
      again, for an apples with apples comparison compare with either NDSL in NZ or compare the total cost including landline.

      Reply
      • Paul Brislen
        Paul Brislen says:

        Hi Billy,

        I’m told churn is at least 30% in broadband but that’s not one customer every three years. Customers don’t work like that. Some never change, some change constantly – the median is about once a year. There are no public figures on this, however, so it’s all a bit moot.

        And I don’t really care what the incumbents charge or what most people pay – I’m more interested in the best offers in the market. Customers who don’t want to move won’t move, but customers who don’t know about the options that are available aren’t able to move – that’s a problem we can solve.

        Cheers

        Paul

        Reply
        • john cena
          john cena says:

          I realise tis is farly off topic, but if churn rates are 30% annually, then it is not mathematically possible for the median to be 1 year.

          Reply
  2. billy
    billy says:

    " Companies offering broadband from as little as £3.25 per month as an introductory offer for the first 9/12 months"

    Introductory offer is not especially relevant. telcos NZ do similar kinds of offers – first 3 months free etc etc

    More useful would be what the standard price is once the introductory offer is finished.

    BT, for example, (equivalent of Telecom) charge around 30GBP per month (about $60 NZD) for landline with 40GB of broadband as their standard price.
    http://www.productsandservices.bt.com/consumerProducts/displayTopic.do?topicId=25633&sintcid=conintbanhpbb

    That isn’t too far away from current offers in the NZ market where similar plans can be had for around $70-$75 NZD (Orcon Genius, VF Mint pack,)

    Reply

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