It is becoming more and more important when you are at university to have access to the internet. Lecturers use it as a way of keeping in touch with students and the resources available on the net can help with their studies. Our guide to student broadband will ensure you get the right package at a price to suit you.
If you’re a student then you’ll know better than us that broadband is essential. Whether it’s to research your assignment topics or- more likely- to catch up with the latest episode of TOWIE, having an internet connection that doesn’t cut out is as important to your student life as the SU bar.
So where do you start when it comes to getting a broadband package? Follow our simple guide to getting an internet connection that lasts the month, and doesn’t break the bank.
What is student broadband?
Student broadband doesn't give you access to any different services than ordinary broadband, but deals are often low-cost, offer greater flexibility and more generous download limits than alternative packages. Therefore, our student broadband contracts are perfect for cash-strapped students!
What speed do I need?
If you’re not accustomed to setting up a broadband connection, there are a few things you need to know before deciding what broadband speed you should be looking at. The same goes for usage; the last thing you need is to run out of bandwidth just as you’re about to submit that all important essay.
How many people are you living with?
The first thing you need to do is to consider how many people will be using your internet connection. If the answer is between one and three, you could be better off opting for a similar broadband package as the one you’ve got at home. However, if you’re living in a house of more than 3 students, then you’re sure to want a connection that’s both fast and plentiful when it comes to usage levels.
What do you use the internet for?
If you’re a studious household intent on visiting the library more often than the pub, then chances are you won’t need as many megabytes of data as, say those that spend hours streaming Spotify and Netflix throughout the night.
Using the net to browse the internet or access online resources is less data heavy than watching movies, downloading the latest songs or streaming live TV (with a television licence, of course).
Wireless, Fibre Optic and Mobile internet
When it comes to selecting a specific package, you need to make sure that you consider the type of broadband you’re going to opt for.
As we mentioned above, students living in a shared house with multiple housemates might need to select a fibre optic connection, which offers superfast connection speeds, reducing the likelihood of experiencing delays or interference.
Wireless is also a must for most students; after all, who wants to be tied to their rooms to stay hooked up to an internet connection? Luckily, all major UK broadband providers will send you a wireless router, allowing you and all your housemates to log on as soon as you step through the front door.
Users who might not want to be tied down to a long broadband contract, or who don’t access the net very often, might want to look into getting a mobile broadband connection. This is essentially a mobile dongle which provides a 3G internet connection the same way as your phone does. So if you regularly set up your work station in the park, on the train, or anywhere where there isn’t wireless coverage, a mobile network might be worth looking into. Remember though that mobile broadband tends to be slower than your typical wireless broadband connection, and more often than not it offers a smaller monthly data allowance too.
How long do I have to sign up for?
Another key factor to consider is how long the broadband contract you decide on will last. Most contracts for student houses can last from anything from 9 months to a year, so you might want to consider how long you want your broadband connection to last for too.
At the moment, the only UK provider to offer a broadband contract shorter than the year is Virgin Media, so if your lease is up before the end of the year, this could be a good option.
If not, most broadband contracts require you to sign up for a minimum of 12 months, which might bring your price down compared to a shorter contract.
Broadband, TV and telephone
Next it’s important to decide what you actually need as part of your broadband package. If you’re a house full of movie fanatics, or a house full of sporty students who love watching the match live, you might fancy opting for a deal that comes with a television subscription added on. You can make the choice from a number of providers, including Sky, Virgin Media or BT Vision.
However, it’s always important to keep one eye on your budget; whilst having a TV connection as part of your broadband package might be fun, it is necessary? On one hand, a TV package is great for hosting on match nights, but on the other, will it become the excuse for not handing in that paper on time?
Is cheaper always better: finding the right deal for you
We all know that students are notoriously on a tight budget. But is your broadband connection something that you really want to scrimp on? Sometimes cheap broadband deals aren’t as lucrative as you might think, especially if you’ve got a number of heavy users living under one roof. And at the end of the day, if you’re splitting the cost between everyone in the house, you can probably afford to shell out a few extra pounds on getting the best connection that’s right for you.
Take a broadband speed test with our free tool.
To make sure you’re safe and not sorry, you should always do your research when signing up for your broadband contract, and using a comparison site like MoneySuperMarket is a perfect place to start. Not only can you sort your deals according to speed and usage levels, but you can compare all of the UK’s major broadband providers side by side.
So what are you waiting for? Browse our specially selected range of student broadband deals today!