Broadband.co.uk Blog

Regular Broadband-related news and comment from the Broadband.co.uk team.

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TalkTalk TV Plus

EXPIRED: Time's running out on the UK's best value TV and broadband deal!

Posted on 2017-06-13 16:47 in News Offers Expired TalkTalk

We've got an exclusive offer from TalkTalk that's only available through Broadband.co.uk, but you only have until the end of Thursday to take advantage!

Sign up before the end of the 15th June to get the TV Plus with Fast Broadband package for just £23.75 a month. That's only £3.75 more than you'd pay for the standard broadband and phone deal. It comes with a 12 month contract, and there are no extra costs to pay: the price includes line rental, there's no setup fee, and you even receive a FREE TV Plus box.

Better still, the deal is not just for new customers. Loyal TalkTalk customers can also take advantage of this incredible offer by adding TV Plus to their existing service.

TV Plus with Fast Broadband is an amazing value, highly flexible deal. So what exactly do you get?

  • Fast, totally unlimited broadband with speeds up to 17Mb*
  • Free TV Plus box (normally £50) — pause, rewind and record up to 180 hours of TV
  • Free connection
  • Guaranteed fixed price for the full 12 month contract
  • Six entertainment channels from Sky, including Sky 1 and Sky Sports News, plus up to 80 Freeview channels
  • You can personalise your package by adding extra channels like Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on a flexible one month contract

Also included is a free TalkTalk Mobile SIM card, and the option to add both mobile and landline call packages.

This fantastic exclusive offer ends in less than a week, so don't delay, sign up by the end of Thursday the 15th June or miss out on big savings on internet and TV!

Head on over to TalkTalk to get started!

*  Package advertised with broadband speeds of up to 17Mb, this will vary depending on your location (your exact speed estimate will be given at point of sale). Use our postcode checker to find what speeds are available in your area. This TV offer does not apply to Fibre products. You need to connect your TalkTalk TV Box to the internet and your TV aerial. Offer ends 2017-06-15.

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money

Loyal broadband customers pay £113 more than those who switch providers

Posted on 2017-04-12 13:46 in News EE Virgin Media Sky BT TalkTalk

Loyal customers who stick with their broadband provider end up paying on average 43% more than if they had switched.

Research by Citizens Advice has cast a light on the way the major providers hike their prices once a contract has ended. Customers who choose to keep their existing deal instead of shopping around find themselves paying an average of £113 extra each year in what has been dubbed a "loyalty penalty".

Citizens Advice analysed the cheapest broadband deals from the UK's five largest suppliers. They found that Virgin Media was the only one that did not bump its prices at the end of the initial contract period. The other four saw increases of as much as 67%.

  • BT - the price rises from £24.49 to £40.99 after 12 months. An increase of 67%, amounting to £198 per year.
  • TalkTalk - the price goes from £20 to £25.50 after 24 months. An increase of 28%, or £66 per year.
  • Sky - after 12 months the price rises from £18.99 to £28.99. An increase of 53%, or £120 per year.
  • EE - the price rises from £21 to £28.50 after 18 months. An increase of 36%, amounting to £90 extra per year.
  • Virgin Media - the cheapest deal is £32.25 per month for 12 months. The price doesn't rise at the end of the contract.

The report found that more than a third of customers didn't realise that prices could go up once their contract had ended. It also found that customers stay on the same deal for an average of four years, which ends up costing them as much as £594 extra.

Those over 65 or on lower incomes were significantly more likely to stick with a deal for more 10 years.

Time to switch

The study highlights the fact that it's more important than ever to shop around for the best broadband deal. Our Ofcom-approved price comparison service helps you find the best and cheapest packages available for your postcode.

Switching broadband providers is easier than you might expect. In most cases, your new provider will handle all aspects of the switchover. You should experience no loss of service, and you won't even need to inform your old supplier that you're leaving. Read our guide to switching broadband providers to see how the process works. 

Citizens Advice is calling for greater clarity in how providers advertise their services, and also to inform customers by text when the fixed price comes to an end.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “People often choose their broadband deals based on the price that works for them - but our evidence shows that many do not realise the price will rise after the end of the fixed deal. The government has rightly put energy firms on warning for how they treat loyal customers - the actions of broadband firms warrant similar scrutiny. Extra protections for vulnerable consumers are also a must.”

The moral of the story is clear: loyalty doesn't pay. Once your contract is up, find a new provider. There are some incredible deals to be had on both standard and fibre broadband, and if you're lucky you might even bag an awesome free gift at the same time.

So don't delay. Click here to visit our postcode checker and you can start saving money today.

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man using computer

How to avoid BT and Sky price rises - penalty free!

Posted on 2017-02-02 14:19 in News Features Sky BT

BT and Sky have both announced that they're hiking up their prices once again - but you don't have to pay them. Under Ofcom rules, any unexpected price rises mean you can quit your contract early without paying a penalty fee.

BT's price increases are all in the region of an inflation-beating 5-6% on standard and fibre broadband deals. They include:

  • Standard broadband: a £2 per month increase from £33.99 to £35.99 for the "all-in" deal including line rental, as of 2nd April
  • Fibre broadband: a £2.50 per month increase from £39.99 to £42.49 for Infinity 1, and £51.49 to £53.99 for Infinity 2, as of 2nd April
  • BT Sport: will cost £3.50 per month via BT TV from August (it was previously free). Via Sky TV the price goes up from 2nd April by £1.50 per month if you have BT Broadband, or £1 per month if you don't
  • Calls packages: also increasing across the board from 2nd April

Sky's price rises are mostly limited to line rental, but customers on older deals will also see increases:

  • Line rental: up 9% from £17.40 per month to £18.99 from 1st March
  • Older broadband and TV deals: will rise on average just under £3 per month from 1st March. The exact amount will vary depending on what deal you're on

How to cancel your broadband contract without penalty

If you aren't happy about the proposed price increases then you do have options. Ofcom states that you can end a contract without penalty if there's a price rise you weren't warned about when you first signed up.

If you're still within the minimum terms of your contract (eg. you're six months into a 12 month deal), you must tell your provider of your intention to quit within 30 days of being informed of the price rise. Both Sky and BT began informing their customers toward the end of January, so move quickly if you want to switch.

If you're outside the minimum terms of the contract (eg. you signed a 12 month deal 18 months ago), you're free to leave at any time regardless.

Switching broadband providers is likely to be your best option for saving money. The best deals are almost always reserved for new customers. Our postcode checker shows what packages are available in your area.

And what if you're happy with your provider? You can, of course, try haggling. You can sometimes get a better deal if you're willing to enter into a new contract. Even so, it's still worth arming yourself with information on the best broadband deals so you know what you're asking for. And if no offer is forthcoming remember the golden rule of haggling — always be willing to walk away.

Use our postcode checker now to find the best broadband deals in your area. Also take a look at our guide to switching broadband providers. The process has been streamlined recently, and is probably a lot easier than you expect.

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Sky Q Hub

Why getting a new router can speed up your broadband

Posted on 2016-11-22 11:35 in News Features Virgin Media Origin TalkTalk Zen EE Vodafone Plusnet Sky BT

If you find broadband speeds confusing, you're not alone. What speed broadband providers advertise and what you actually get are rarely the same thing. The ASA has recently announced that it will be taking steps next year to bring clarity to the entire issue.

But that's a way off. In the meantime there are steps you can take to ensure you achieve speeds closer to what you were expecting.

You may not know that your Wi-Fi router can have a massive impact on the internet speeds you get throughout your home. Since the provider supplies the router we tend to assume that they're automatically good enough. But that isn't always true - sometimes they're old or slow, and not capable of handling a superfast broadband connection.

In these cases, upgrading to a more powerful router can help speed up your broadband dramatically.

How a new Wi-Fi router can help

Let's start with the technical bit.

The performance of a router is determined by the wireless standard that it uses. The best modern routers use the latest standard, called 802.11ac. It's the fastest available, and it runs on the 5GHz band which is clean and interference free.

802.11ac superceded the 802.11n standard. This is much slower - perhaps half or even a third of the speed - and it commonly runs on the 2.4GHz band which is much more prone to interference from other electrical devices in your home. As a result, the signal is not just slower but it gets much weaker the further it travels.

The router as a bottleneck

Many broadband providers supply an N-rated router with their packages, and it may not be up to the job. Tests show that 802.11n routers have a real world top speed of 50-100Mb, at close range. At a distance of 20 metres, and with a few obstacles like walls and floors in the way, that speed can be slashed in half - or worse.

So, if you've got a high-end fibre package and are getting speeds of 50Mb or more, then an N-rated router simply won't cut it. Your broadband is faster than your router, and the router becomes a bottleneck. Even on an entry-level fibre deal, with speeds of 25Mb, you'll be pushing it. You might find you get good speeds downstairs, but that they fall off sharply in the bedrooms.

In both cases, upgrading to an AC-rated router is likely to give you a major speed boost. The exception is standard broadband. Here, the speeds top out at 16Mb, and in practice are usually somewhat slower. An N-rated router should be able to handle this.

An easy way to check if you're affected is to use our free Speed Test tool. Stand next to your router and run the test on your laptop. Then head to the furthest corner of your house and run it again. If there's a major discrepancy in your results then it could be a sign that you need to upgrade your router. (Or it could mean you need to find a better position for your router.)

Do you need a new router?

You can see why a slow router can mean you don't get the broadband speeds you were expecting. So do you need to upgrade?

When you're shopping for broadband deals, all our comparison tables have icons to show what kind of router you're getting. Click the More Info button to see whether there's an option to upgrade to a better router when you sign up.

What router do you get?

  • Many of the major providers now supply AC-rated routers with all their packages. This includes TalkTalk, Vodafone and Virgin, while Sky also provides the new Sky Q Hub if you are a TV customer.
  • BT, Plusnet and EE supply 802.11ac routers with their fibre packages, and N-rated routers with standard broadband. BT offers a paid upgrade for standard broadband customers, but the other two don't.
  • Origin customers get an N-rated router, and need to pay at checkout to upgrade to a faster AC-rated unit.

If you've been with a provider for some time it's possible you're still using an older N-rated router and aren't getting the fastest possible speeds from your broadband. In this case it's worth checking with the provider to see if they'll swap your router for a newer model for free. Some may give you one in exchange for you signing a new contract. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting, and that you aren't charged or placed on a new contract without knowing.

Lastly, a handful of providers, including Plusnet, Zen and Origin, allow you to use own router, so you can shop around and check independent reviews to get the best model for your needs.

The router is a frequently overlooked part of the broadband service. It's natural to assume that broadband problems are the fault of the provider, but the reality is that if your router is too slow you can easily be cutting your internet speed in half without even realising.

Give your router a quick check now to see if you would benefit from an upgrade.

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ASA

Broadband speed advertising: What you need to know

Posted on 2016-11-18 10:43 in News

The way broadband speeds are advertised is set to change, in response to a call by the Advertising Standards Agency.

New independent research carried out on behalf of the ASA has confirmed what we've long suspected: there's widespread confusion about all aspects of broadband speeds. The ASA was concerned that this could prove to be misleading.

The research found that:

  • Speed is an important factor for a significant number of consumers when choosing a broadband package
  • Understanding of broadband speeds is low overall, with many consumers not knowing what speed they need
  • Most consumers believe they will receive the advertised speed, or close to it, when in practice most won't

A recent report from the BBC's Watchdog also highlighted the problem of misleading speed adverts. Broadband providers are currently able to advertise packages with speeds up to a certain level, so long as 10% of their customers can achieve that level. The vast majority of customers will get slower - and often considerably slower - speeds.

Analysis of speed test results shows that the typically advertised 'up to 17Mb' figure may not even meet these standards - most providers' customers have a top 10% speed closer to 15Mb or, in some cases, 14Mb. Across rural areas, the top 10% speed for products advertised as 'up to 17Mb' is just short of 10Mb.

A period of consultation is underway, ahead of a likely change to be announced in the Spring of 2017.

What you need to know about broadband speeds

Hopefully, the result of all this will be greater clarity, ensuring you know exactly what you're signing up for when you buy a broadband deal. We don't yet know what the solution will be, and in reality broadband speeds are quite complicated. Here's what you need to know.

How broadband speeds are advertised

The current rules state that headline speeds must only be attainable by at least 10% of customers, and must be preceded by the words 'up to'. There should also be additional qualification to help people understand any other factors at play. However, in practice the industry appears to have settled on an advertised speed roughly 2Mb higher than the rules show have allowed.

Broadband speeds are usually much slower than advertised

Use our free Speed Test tool to see what speed you're getting, and how it compares to what you were expecting. We also produce a monthly report showing the average download speeds for the main providers in the UK so you can see which are the best and worst performing.

It's impossible to advertise an exact speed

Even though the 'up to' claims may not be satisfactory, it isn't possible to advertise an exact speed instead. There are numerous factors that affect broadband speeds, to the extent that two houses on the same street with the same deal may get different levels of service.

The main factor that affects broadband speed

The biggest problem is the distance between your home and the nearest street cabinet (for most fibre broadband packages) or nearest exchange (for standard broadband). This is because part or all of the connection runs over copper lines, and the further the signal has to travel over these lines the weaker it gets. It's worse for rural areas, where these distances tend to be much longer, and the rural infrastructure is also less likely to have been upgraded to anything newer or faster.

Virgin is not affected by this

An exception to this is Virgin Media, which uses its own cable network, as well as smaller fibre-to-the-property providers, which bring the connection direct to your home rather than your nearest street cabinet.

Other things that slow down your broadband

There are many other factors at play, too. Smaller providers may slow down during peak hours because they don't have enough bandwidth to service all of their customers at maximum speed. Some providers may have traffic management policies in place to restrict speeds on the heaviest users. Your Wi-Fi router could also be a problem. Many providers supply cheaper, older technology routers that slow down over longer distances or are unable to deliver the full speed of your broadband connection.

How you can improve your broadband speed

It's possible to speed up your broadband in several ways. These include making sure your router is positioned in the best place in your home, and potentially upgrading the router to a faster model. For more tips check out our 12 tips to boost you broadband speed.

What broadband speed you need

The speed of broadband you need depends mostly on two things: how many people will be using your connection, and what you're using the internet for. A small household just using Facebook and the web can get away with a slower package. A large household with people watching Netflix and play games online will need something much faster. Read more in our guide to what broadband speed you need.

Use our free Speed Test tool today to find out fast out how fast your broadband is.

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Broadband.co.uk's all-in prices

Our revamped comparison tables make it easier than ever to find the best broadband for you

Posted on 2016-11-11 10:22 in Announcements News

Finding the cheapest broadband deal is now easier than ever thanks to our new price comparison tables.

Our revamped listings help to bring much needed clarity to broadband pricing. They now show exactly how much a package will cost you each month, as well as the total amount you'd pay in the first year. In addition, we clearly outline any upfront costs you'd need to pay for things like equipment or installation - the exact kind of things that so often get hidden in the small print.

Broadband pricing has often been complicated and confusing. Our enhanced comparison tables bring greater consistency to the way different providers' offers are presented. By default, packages are sorted by the first year cost - which includes any setup fees - so you'll be able to see exactly how much you would pay in the first 12 months of any deal.

Greater clarity in pricing

Back in May, the Advertising Standards Authority teamed up with Ofcom to announce new rules designed to make it simpler for consumers to compare broadband packages and gave providers until the end of October to comply. It said that product listings needed to stop separating broadband and line rental charges, and give greater prominence to contract length and up-front costs.

We fully support the new guidelines at Broadband.co.uk. Our purpose is to help you find the best broadband deal at the best price, and we've long argued that greater consistency and clarity was needed in the way that deals were advertised.

With the rules now in effect, we've overhauled the way we present pricing information to you. These are the main changes you'll find:

  • Full monthly cost - All packages now show the total price you will pay each month, even if the provider is still separating out broadband and line rental charges. You'll always be able to compare like-for-like.
  • Full first-year cost - Find out how much a package will cost you in the first year, once introductory offers have been accounted for, and including any additional upfront costs you may need to pay. If you'll receive promotional cashback or account credit during the year, this is deducted from the total. (Vouchers and other rewards aren't included.)
  • Upfront cost - Say goodbye to hidden fees. Any extras like setup, equipment, or delivery charges are now shown as a single all-in total beneath the monthly price. (If you need a new telephone line, additional prices may apply, see More Info or click Go to site.)
  • Broadband-only deals - Those packages that are sold as broadband-only but still require a phone line - so you need to shop around and pay someone else for separate line rental - are now either shown on their own Broadband-Only tab for the associated provider, or are clearly marked as needing separate line rental.
  • More info - Hit the More info button to get a full breakdown on each package. This includes the all-in price and how this compares to what's advertised (in cases where the provider still presents differently), along with details of telephone line requirements and what else you get with the package.

Ready to switch broadband providers? Use our postcode checker to find out which deals are available in your area.

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Logging into Facebook on a MacBook

Data limits: Are they right for you?

Posted on 2016-10-21 12:19 in Features BT Plusnet Sky

We're all keen to shave a few pounds off our monthly bills, so when we're shopping for broadband and find an entry level package that looks the same as the more expensive alternatives, it can prove pretty tempting. Many broadband providers - from the industry's biggest and smallest names alike - offer these. They can be extremely cheap, but they come with pretty hefty restrictions.

Sky make a compelling offer with their cheapest fibre deal. It gives you the opportunity to upgrade to the benefits of fibre broadband and get it completely free for the length of the contract, while paying only line rental. Except there's a catch - you're limited to 25GB of data each month.

BT's lowest priced fibre deal also comes with a 25GB limit, and their cheapest standard broadband just 12GB. Many other providers also impose limits on their most affordable packages, ranging from 100GB down to a paltry 5GB.

Not only do these limits restrict how you can use the internet, they can also prove more expensive in the long run. Exceed your limit on BT, for example, and you'll pay £1.80 for every additional gigabyte you use. The price can rack up quite quickly.

Now, this doesn't mean you should avoid data limited packages outright. For lighter users in smaller households they might be ideal. Just make sure you know how much data you will be using before you sign up.

How much data do you need?

The amount of data you use depends what you do online. Casual browsing, shopping and banking, email and Facebook are not especially data intensive. If that's the extent of your web use, and there's only a couple of people in your household, then you might be okay with a data limit.

Anything media-related, on the other hand, eats through data rapidly. Here's a rough guide to how much data common apps use:

  • Netflix - the TV streaming service Netflix uses around 1GB of data per hour for standard definition, and 3GB per hour for HD. For BBC iPlayer, you can expect to use 2GB per hour of HD viewing.
  • Sky TV on demand - On-demand downloads through your Sky box will also count towards your data allowance - even if you use Sky broadband. A typical movie will use 1.5GB of data for SD and 4GB for HD.
  • Music streaming - The Spotify music streaming service uses around 115MB per hour at the highest quality setting.
  • Gaming - Tests have shown that online video gaming can use anywhere between 20MB and 200MB, depending on the title. Stream your gameplay over the Twitch service and you'll use up to 1.6GB per hour.
  • Video calls - Skype can use between around 200-600MB per hour for video calls, although it can be lower depending on the quality of the connection.

And then there are the numerous other things that will burn through a data allowance. Regular updates for your laptop, phone and games console, for example, stretch to several hundred megabytes or more. They may be mandatory, and they may even happen in the background without you realising.

Uploads count, too. use iCloud or OneDrive for your files, back up your important files to DropBox or Google Drive, share your holiday snaps on Facebook or Google Photos, or upload funny videos to YouTube or Snapchat, and that's another chunk of your data gone.

A false economy?

A cheap broadband deal with a monthly data allowance can be tempting - why pay any more than you need to, right? But it can prove to be a false economy, and you certainly shouldn't choose one in the hope that you'll be able to ration your usage.

Some providers, like BT, will start charging the moment you exceed your limit. Others, like Sky, will allow you to go over once every six months, before automatically upgrading your broadband to their more expensive Unlimited package. And in some cases, the difference between limited and unlimited isn't even all that great. At the time of writing you can get an unlimited fibre deal from Plusnet for just £25 more per year than Sky Fibre.

If you're only a light internet user, going online to pay bills and the like, then the cheapest, limited deal may suffice. For everyone else, you'd be better off steering clear and picking the best unlimited deal that suits your needs.

Use our postcode checker to find your best broadband deal today.

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TalkTalk with £75 shopping voucher

Expired: Get up to half price broadband plus a £75 Love2Shop voucher with TalkTalk. Hurry - the offers ends soon!

Posted on 2016-09-22 07:46 in Offers Expired TalkTalk

If you're shopping for broadband then you won't want to miss the fantastic half-price deals TalkTalk are offering right now. And if you sign up soon you'll get a £75 voucher to spend on the high street, too.

These awesome deals start at just £3.75 a month for the totally unlimited SimplyBroadband package. Or if speed is what you need you can get 18 months of fibre broadband for only £8.75 a month - it's up to 4.5 times faster than standard broadband.

If you prefer to get internet, TV and calls all in the same package you can do exactly that with TalkTalk's Essentials TV offer. £7.50 per month gets you unlimited broadband, evening and weekend calls, plus a YouView box that gives you seven days of catch-up TV and the ability to pause and rewind live shows.

Sign up to any of these deals by 27th September and you'll receive a £75 Love2Shop voucher to spend in over 20 thousand high street stores.

Sign up for TalkTalk broadband and claim your free £75 Love2Shop voucher today!

All the offers are on 18 month contracts, are fully unlimited, and come with a free wireless router. You also get a comprehensive security package that protects you against viruses, online scams, and gives you full parental controls for complete peace of mind.

Already with TalkTalk?

It isn't just new customers that get the best deals from TalkTalk. You can upgrade from standard broadband to a superfast fibre service and pay just £7.50 per month - that's an impressive 25% less than the normal price.

Voucher offers are exclusive to new customers who order online, switch from BT, Sky or Plusnet and keep their existing landline number. Speeds dependent on location and distance from local exchange - use our postcode checker to find out what's available in your area. Line rental required at £17.70 per month. Love2Shop voucher offer ends 2016-09-27. Broadband offers end 2016-10-01. Speed of TalkTalk Fibre product compared to UK average of standard (ADSL) download speed from Ofcom UK Home broadband performance report November 2015.

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Student Broadband Guide

Find the best student broadband deals for 2016

Posted on 2016-09-13 14:31 in Features Offers Origin BT Sky NOW TV Virgin Media

Good broadband is one of the essentials of student life. You need it for coursework and research; you need it for Game of Thrones and pulling an all-nighter on Call of Duty. But with so many broadband packages to choose from, how do you decide which to go with? What factors do you need to be aware of, and where can you find the best student broadband deals? Let's take a look.

When searching for broadband for your student accommodation you don't just need the best deal, you need the right deal. It's important to get the right length of contract - if you finish uni next June you don't want to still be paying for your broadband in August - and you also need to think about what speeds you need. A student house with two people will have vastly different internet requirements to a house with eight people.

Our newly updated Guide to Student Broadband can help you with this. It's got all the advice you need, and will also point you towards the best offers around.

Top student broadband offers 2016

Fortunately, many providers offer exclusive deals for students. They come with nine month contracts - to cover you during term time and no more - and include superfast fibre broadband options. Here's our pick of some of this year's best student offers.

  • Sky Broadband Unlimited for Students: a nine month contract with completely free standard broadband with free connection - you only pay line rental!
  • BT Unlimited Infinity for Students: nine month contracts on up to 52Mb and up to 76Mb fibre broadband, with free access to BT Sport and a £25 Costa gift card.
  • Virgin Media VIVD 200 for Students: for the largest or most demanding households you can get up to 200Mb fibre broadband (so long as you're in a coverage area). Cheaper 50 and 100Mb packages are also available.
  • Origin Broadband: Origin's basic broadband service isn't a student special, but it is one of the cheapest deals around. Get 12 months of internet access for free, paying only line rental.
  • NOW TV Fab Fibre with TV pass and Calls: NOW TV offers up to 38Mb fibre broadband with no contract - you can cancel at any time. You get a TV pass, too, with your choices being Entertainment, Sky Cinema or Sky Sports.

Check out our Guide to Student Broadband for the lowdown on all these deals and many more, plus answers to any other questions you might have. Keen video gamer? Want to watch Premier League football? Need mobile broadband on your laptop? That's all covered, too!

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Rural broadband

Why is rural broadband so slow, and what can you do about it?

Posted on 2016-08-03 16:16 in Features

What comes to mind when you think of the British countryside? The rolling hills? The quaint tea rooms? Cricket on the village green? How about terrible broadband?

Back in March Ofcom released the results of its latest broadband performance survey, and it was gloomy reading for rural households.

Ofcom's data showed that internet speeds in rural areas are less than a third of those in urban areas. It showed that speeds for country dwellers have barely budged in the last three years, and that 75% of households are stuck on internet connections of 10Mb or slower.

It's even worse in the most remote areas. Another survey from the NFU suggested that more than half of its members were getting by on speeds of less than 2Mb.

Meanwhile, Europe's Digital Progress Report, from the European Commission, highlights just how far the UK's rural broadband infrastructure lags behind the rest of the continent. Just 45.9% of British rural homes have access to superfast broadband, compared to 97% in The Netherlands, 89% in Switzerland, and approaching two-thirds in rural parts of former Eastern bloc states like Slovenia and Lithuania.

The cause of slow rural broadband

The causes of slow internet speeds mostly relate to location and infrastructure.

Most people in the UK get at least part of their broadband connection delivered over the copper telephone network. Even most fibre broadband services are actually only part fibre. The further your connection has to travel over copper lines, the slower it gets, so the distance you live from your nearest telephone exchange (for standard broadband) or street cabinet (for fibre), the slower your service will be.

In towns and cities these distances tend to be shorter, so the speeds are faster. In rural areas, the opposite is true.

To make matters worse, upgrades to the infrastructure often only occur where it is economically viable. This inevitably results in areas of low population density being excluded. Many rural exchanges and cabinets have not been upgraded to be able to provide faster broadband speeds.

A faster future?

There are plans in place to improve broadband speeds across the UK, especially in hard to reach areas.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is a Government-funded body tasked with this, with the aim of extending superfast coverage to 95% of UK households and ensuring a modest 2Mb service is available to everyone.

The Better Broadband subsidy scheme has been set up for the latter. It targets around 300,000 of the most remote properties, and subsidises the installation of a wireless or satellite broadband service to the tune of around £350. You may be eligible if you're unable to get a 2Mb service currently, so long as there are no plans to install fibre in your area in the next 12 months.

However, as our guide to rural broadband explains, these alternative services do not come without a few caveats to be aware of.

So, what are your options?

While there's no magic solution, you do have plenty of options if you want a service that offers more than the bare minimum performance.

Our rural broadband guide gives you everything you need to know about getting the fastest internet access in the countryside. It explains all the factors that can hit fibre and standard broadband speeds — you can use our coverage checker to find out whether you are likely to be affected.

And if broadband from the main providers isn’t going to work out for you, we’ve got a full lowdown of the other services you can choose. These range from smaller, local providers bringing ultrafast fibre broadband to select regions using their own infrastructure, to mobile broadband, to niche services like satellite and fixed wireless broadband.

You don’t have to settle for sub-standard internet performance. Check out our rural broadband guide today to help get your service up to speed.

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