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Broadband and TV
Many broadband providers also offer a digital TV service, with Sky and Virgin Media the two most recognisable. But as our broadband becomes quicker and more reliable, many other providers are able to offer a digital TV service that's delivered via a broadband connection, including the popular on demand services.
The available channels and services do vary from provider to provider and package to package, so it's worth checking the detail on your chosen package to see what's on offer. Check the compare button on our results table for up to five different packages to see what channels are on offer, side-by-side.
Often referred to as "superfast broadband", fibre optic offers most UK households the fastest available broadband speeds.
Instead of using the copper telephone network, which is how most ADSL broadband is delivered, superfast is transmitted through fibre optic cables. The signal doesn't degrade using fibre optic cables, which means speeds are much faster. Whereas ADSL can offers speeds of up to 16 Mbps (Megabits per second), we're looking at a minimum of 38 Mbps with fibre.
Virgin Media offers the fastest fibre speeds, in excess of 100 Mbps in some cases and is the widest available provider in the UK at the moment. But Sky, Plusnet, Primus, EE and BT as well as some other providers also offer the service.
Unlimited means that the broadband you receive at home will have no caps on usage or downloads.
This means that whenever you want to use the internet, for downloading, streaming or just general browsing, you can do so without ever worrying about incurring extra charges.
Some providers have been known to implement traffic management on their networks, meaning that the speed of a user's broadband is controlled during peak times and this could be the case even with unlimited broadband. It's worth checking with your provider for more information on traffic management.
If you want to have the cost of local and national landline calls included in your broadband package, click this button. Anytime covers your local and national calls during the daytime, evening and at weekends, which means you won't pay extra on your monthly bill for making calls. However some providers will charge for 0870 and 0845 calls, and international calls will also be charged, so do check the details of the package to see what's included.
Your broadband usage, measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), can be a puzzling subject to fully understand.
It's not easy to be truly accurate with how much broadband you're consuming on a monthly basis.
That's why we've cut through the technical jargon by creating three different types of broadband user.
Simply match your activities to one of the user types below:
A single user, or perhaps there's two of you, who like to browse the internet, send emails and maybe download a few songs during the evenings and at weekends.
Packages with 2GB of use or more
Perhaps you're a small family, or a couple who like to watch iPlayer or catch-up TV a few times a week, on top of the usual website browsing, email sending and occasional Skype calls.
Packages with 20GB or more
You're either a large family or shared household. You like to stream TV or Netflix, perhaps play some online video games and generally enjoy living in a connected world.
Packages with unlimited usage
How to understand the different broadband speeds
There are three different types of broadband speeds that are available to you when you take out a new deal. These are ADSL, fibre and superfast fibre.
ADSL is broadband that's delivered into your house via a telephone line and used by the majority of households in Britain.
These deals offer speeds of up to 16 megabits per second (Mb).
ADSL broadband is generally fast enough for you to stream television without too much buffering or pausing and certainly fast enough for day-to-day internet browsing and emailing.
Using fibre optic cables to transfer data, you can achieve speeds of up to 38Mb with a fibre broadband connection.
You will happily watch live TV and play online video games with a fibre broadband connection offering minimal delays or lags.
Superfast refers to fibre optic broadband connections with speeds over 38Mb.
You may opt for a superfast fibre broadband connection if you require large downloads delivered to you quickly, or were a regular player of online video games that needed a faster than average connection in order to play seamlessly.
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Many broadband providers now offer packages aimed at businesses. Small and large businesses, along with home office entrepreneurs are catered for. However, what makes these packages different to those available to regular home users? And are they really worth the extra monthly charge?
If your business relies on the internet, then you need to ensure you have a broadband service that is not just dependable and trustworthy, but that helps you get the most out of your internet use.
This is where business broadband comes in, as many internet service providers (ISP) now offer exclusive packages that address many of the concerns about running a business online, or being reliant on the web for information or communication purposes.
What you require from a business broadband deal is for you to decide, as each business has varying needs. However, here are some aspects you should consider before making your choice:
Speeds - You will want to be able to complete downloads as quickly as possible and so you should look for fast speeds (probably 2Mb as a minimum, 8Mb for typical use, though speeds up to 24Mb are available). However, you should also consider upload speeds too as you may need to place information online, such as on to a company website. Most business broadband providers utilise technology that allows for faster uploads through processes such as symmetric DSL and optical carrier lines (that can transfer data at speeds up to 600Mb).
Contention ratios - Broadband speeds can vary and are dependent on a number of factors including the volume of traffic being carried when you are logged on. The higher the contention ratio, the larger number of people that are using the service at any one time. Look to lower contention ratios to enjoy faster speeds.
Security - Nearly every business broadband package on the market will offer enhanced levels of security such as anti-virus and spyware protection. Also look for additional elements such as firewalls and the ability to back-up your data online.
Support - Is there a dedicated 24hr helpline and will your call be prioritised? Is there a guarantee to fix services within a set period of time?
Networking - Does the business broadband package allow for networking - which is two or more computers sharing information and resources. If so, how many computers will it support and is there room for growth? Also, is wireless networking available?
Static IP address - Receiving a static IP address as part of your package will allow you to enjoy remote access, pick up emails direct to your PC and more. Most business broadband deals include at least one static IP address.
VoIP services - VoIP allows you to make calls over the internet as a cheaper alternative to a regular landline or mobile phone. See if you can get VoIP software from your broadband provider and are there a range of services available? VoIP is particularly useful for businesses with customers overseas as international calls are free to select countries.
Price - As with any broadband deal you should pay close attention to the price and think about whether you are getting value for money. Consider the length of the contract and don't be fooled by introductory rates.
Why is business broadband important?
A good business broadband deal can help your business grow in a number of ways:
Communication - A good business broadband deal will allow you to interact between offices. If you only have one office, business broadband should still assist you with communication to your clients and customers.
Enhance processes - Broadband opens numerous opportunities to businesses. Not only does the internet itself allow you to use email and surf the web, but it is tailor made for business use as you can use it to set up your own website as a promotional tool or even to make cheaper phone calls over the internet via voice over internet protocol (VoIP).
Improves security - A good business broadband package will offer you enhanced security. Possibilities include backing up your files online so that if you suffered PC or laptop problems you would not lose backlogged data. There should also be enhanced anti-virus and spyware protection.
Priority service - Business broadband should offer you prioritised technical support. Being offline for a lengthy period of time could cost you serious amounts of money. As a consequence, most business broadband providers offer their clients a priority service so you can be sure your provider will do its best to get you back on track as soon as possible.
Perhaps you are looking for a broadband and telephone package all in one, or you might need superfast fibre optic broadband given your business needs. Whatever your requirements, we will aim to find the best and cheapest broadband packages for you.
You can also use MoneySuperMarket's speed test tool to see if you are getting what you are paying for from your current provider. If you feel that you are not getting the results that you have paid for from your current broadband provider, then you can compare business broadband deals using MoneySuperMarket.
† Savings are calculated by subtracting the total of the cheapest broadband contract from the average cost of broadband contracts in our results table, not including any discounts, in the same set of results.
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