During the past 20 years, we have witnessed many technological advances that have served to redefine the way we send and receive information. High-speed data transmission has come to dominate our very lives. One of the most profound factors that has ushered in this revolution is the adoption of broadband technology in a growing number of locations across the globe. Some recent new stories serve to highlight the growing impact of broadband in our daily lives.

Broadband Defined

Modern broadband communications can be likened to a pipe transporting water from one location to another. The wider the pipe, the more water can be sent and received. This analogy is much how broadband operates. Simply put, information is sent over a "broad band" spectrum and allows for up to 40 megabytes per second to be received over the a digital subscriber line ("dsl" for short). This internet connection is leaps and bounds of traditional dial-up services which were unable to handle such massive amounts of data.

Furthermore, broadband employs the use of internet satellite technology, thus allowing for high speed connections and "hot spots" across a much wider geographical area than possible with dial-up access.

While the undeniable advantages of this technology cannot be overstated, this popularity has caused an increase in the number providers available, giving you, the consumer, an abundance of broadband choices. So, let us briefly examine some factors to consider when choosing an internet services provider (otherwise simply known as an isp).

Fibre Optic Broadband

When comparing broadband deals, fibre optic broadband is a term that you'll frequently see, but you may find yourself wondering what exactly is fibre optic broadband? As opposed to the traditional copper wires that provide most of the UK with a phone connection, fibre optic broadband utilises glass cables. Due to the the nature of the glass cables, there is less chance of interference and faster broadband speeds. At the moment, fibre optic broadband is only available in the most populous regions of UK and is offered by a number of top broadband providers such as Sky and Virgin Media. If you are uncertain whether or not your area is eligible for fibre optic broadband, there are a number of postcode checker tools online that can let you know what fibre optic broadband services are available in your area.

Choosing the Right Company

One of the first factors is to determine which internet service package makes the most sense from a functional point of view. For example, will a router cater to one computer or will there be multiple sites that are using a broadband service as would be the case in an office environment? In the latter case, a number of routers may be necessary to achieve optimum internet access.

In addition, those who frequently who want to use the internet on the go may want to look into getting a broadband dongle. These small devices slot into the USB port of your electronic device to provide it with internet using the signal from mobile phone towers. Broadband or mobile internet dongles can be bought on a contract where you can pay a set fee for you internet for a specified period of time or you can buy a broadband dongle on a pay as you go contract where you only pay for the internet you use. There are a number of companies that provide mobile internet services, most of them tend to mobile network companies like 3 and T-mobile.

Another important aspect that needs to be addressed is that many providers offer package deals that boast cable internet, mobile internet and digital phone services together. The advantage is that all of these services will be included in one monthly price.

Many internet providers will advertise discounted rates or high download speeds, but one must also consider the purpose of the broadband connection. Those who wish to download audio files or films will require a higher internet connection speed than those who are more inclined to utilise the service for simple e-mail or texting between multiple parties.

When comparing broadband deals and broadband providers, the reputation of each provider should be carefully considered. Searching online and comparing different user reviews is an excellent way to determine which provider may be the best suited for specific needs. Companies such as Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk are some of the largest and can offer a wide variety of services as opposed to smaller, more regionally oriented providers. The nationally recognized companies can offer clear internet solutions to help meet nearly any individual need.

Summarily, some major points to address when choosing a company include:
  • The number of computers or mobile devices sharing the service.
  • Broadband package deals can offer the most savings.
  • Fibre optic broadband can deliver faster connection speeds and virtually no interference.
  • The purpose for the connection (high or low amounts of data transference)
  • The reputation of the company itself.