What is an ISP?
ISP stands for 'Internet Service Provider'. The ISP is the company that will provide your broadband service.
What is a Byte, KB, MB or GB?
A Kilobyte (KB) is equal to 1000 bytes (measurement for a unit of data). A Megabyte (MB, Meg) is equal to 1000 Kilobytes. A Gigabyte (GB) is equal to 1000 Megabytes. Unfortunately these cannot really be measured purely in time as it depends on what you're using the internet for. A typical 4 minute YouTube video will use between 8-10MB.
What is the download speed?
The download speed is essentially an indicator as to how quick your internet connection will be. The higher the number of MBs the quicker your internet will be. It is worth noting that all broadband products are advertised with 'Up To' speeds. This is because in most cases you will not actually receive the maximum potential speed.
What is the usage limit?
The usage limit is the total amount of data the selected package will allow you to use in any given month. Heavy users will generally take out deals with unlimited usage caps whilst people who use the internet for surfing and checking emails etc may be happy with lower caps. If you go over your cap your internet is unlikely to be switched off but you may incur a charge for doing so.
What is LLU (Local Loop Unbundling)?
Local Loop Unbundling is the process whereby BT (or Kingston in Hull) allow other providers access to the local exchange. Providers are then able to install and upgrade their own lines and typically offer customers service at a lower cost. When the local loop is not unbundled, customers may have to pay a slightly higher cost to use alternative providers.
What is a MAC code?
A MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) code is required when you want to move from one provider to another. It holds the details for your address and line and your new provider will need it to be able to move your service. From the date of requesting the MAC code your existing provider has up to 5 working days to provide this to you. Thereafter the code is viable for 30 days.
What is a Fair Usage Policy?
In many cases where a provider offers a package with unlimited downloads, it is usually subject to a fair usage policy. Typically the Fair Usage Policy is there to manage the data being used by heavy users in peak hours of the day. Lower to medium users may not need to worry about this as they are unlikely to reach the Fair Usage limit, however, heavy users should be aware of what the limit is. In the event that a customer’s use has been deemed excessive the provider will notify the customer asking them to limit their usage. In the event that the customer continues to exceed the fair usage limit the provider may slow the connection during peak times or even terminate the connection altogether.
What is a bundle?
A broadband bundle is a package that will allow you purchase your broadband along with your home phone and / or digital TV service. In many cases you can make significant savings by having just one provider for you broadband, home phone and digital TV.
What is cable broadband?
Cable broadband is provided via underground fibre-optic cables. Whilst the benefits include fast broadband speeds, reliable services and options for additional Digital TV, it is worth noting that cable services are not available to all UK households.
What is mobile broadband?
Mobile broadband is effectively a type of wireless internet – but one that differs from Wi-Fi. It allows you to gain access to the internet anywhere at any time of day as long as you have network coverage. The benefits of mobile broadband are its flexibility and ease of use, meaning you don't need any wires and you don’t need a landline to operate.
Can I switch provider at any time?
Yes and no! You will need to check that you are out of contract with your current provider (typically most long term contracts are 12 - 18 months). In the even that you are still under contract you will need to review the cancellation terms in your agreement. In most cases the provider will request that in order to cancel the contract you pay the remaining monthly costs. Once you know how much you would need to pay it is simply a case of working out if you’re better off seeing out the remainder of your contract or switching to a new deal
How do I switch Provider?
Check contractual position with your current provider: ensure that you're free to switch. If you’re still under contract be sure to check the terms for cancellation. Find the right deal: make sure you search around to find the best product to meet your needs. Check the speed you're likely to get: Ofcom regulation states that before taking out a new product a provider must give you the opportunity to view an estimated speed that they think you'll get. Request you're MAC code: if you’re happy with the estimated speed and want to change provider then you will need to request a MAC code (Migration Authorisation Code) from your existing provider. They have 5 days to provide you this code, after which it will be active for 30 days, during which time you must provide it to your new provider.
Will I always get the advertised up to speed?
Broadband providers now advertise an 'Up to' speed meaning the speed advertised is the maximum possible speed you will receive. However, in most cases the actual speed you get can be much lower than this. If you’re not getting a good speed with your current provider then be sure to ask them if they can improve the speed for you. Alternatively you can consider switching to a new provider. However, before doing so be sure to ask the new provider what speed they realistically think you'll achieve. It may be that given your location you are unable to access high speed broadband, in which case it may not be advisable to pay a premium for a package advertising up to high speeds
What’s the best bundle to go for?
Simple answer is that it depends on what you want from a bundle - there are a number of options meaning you can tailor your package to meet your needs. This can include the speed or usage of broadband, the times at which you make your phone calls or what TV packages you want to include. If you’re not sure try using our Broadband Finder tool