|Fast Provider Facts
||The largest selection of HD Channels available in the UK
||BT's revolutionary Vision service now offering Sky sports to
customers unable to mount a dish.
||Be offer both 3 month and 12 month contracts.
||3 Mobile were the first provider to offer 3g mobile broadband,
having created the 3g network they currently have the largest UK
coverage of 97%.
||Using their own high speed 'Fibre Optic' network, Virgin are
able to offer any of their services without the need of a BT line
or Satellite dish.
||Discounts for any customer on 02 mobile pay monthly or pay as
||Discounts to mobile customers on orange pay monthly or pay as
||Currently offering some of the best international rates
||Free HD satellite TV Service created by The BBC and ITV.
Do you have answers to the following
- Can I have broadband without a landline?
- What am I going to use the internet for?
- What broadband speeds am I looking for?
- Do I need fibre broadband?
- Do I need unlimited broadband?
- Do I need parental controls?
- Do I need other services that I can get from the same
- What's my budget?
If you answered all of the above, congratulations, you are ready
to make an educated decision and buy a broadband product.
If you don't have answers to any of these questions, you are in
the right place. Below, you will find out everything you need to
know about buying the right broadband package.
You may often hear that it is important to
choose a broadband product that is simply tailored to your needs.
However, what is that special tailoring that you should be looking
Landline or no landline
YES - Before you start, you need to consider if
you need a landline to access broadband. If you were to choose an
ADSL provider such as TalkTalk, BT, Plusnet or Sky, you would need
to have an active landline.
- A BT landline installation is likely to cost around
- With a landline, you are going to pay monthly bills of up
- There is a hefty cancellation fee (up to £70) if you
decided you didn't need a landline anymore.
NO- You don't need to have a landline to access
broadband internet. You can opt for Virgin Media which uses the
cable network infrastructure, unlike BT which provides broadband
via telephone line. However, not everyone can have Virgin Media
seeing as its cable network does not cover the entire country. If
you don't live in a Virgin Media cabled area then you could
Mobile operators such as Three (3), Orange, O2 or T-Mobile
deliver broadband internet to your laptop or other compatible
device via a portable modem known as a dongle. As impressive as
this option sounds, download speeds and modest usage allowances
prevent it from being the perfect alternative to ADSL especially
for heavy broadband users.
The final option is satellite broadband, which is available
virtually everywhere. Suppliers such as Tooway help out those who
reside in rural areas to get broadband connectivity without a
landline. However, it is worth pointing out that equipment and set
up costs are likely to set you back a few hundred pounds.
- Virgin Media is great but not available
- Mobile broadband is best for light users (for example
checking email, reading the news, downloading the odd
- Satellite broadband is a good solution for those who live
in rural areas, however set up is costly.
Broadband contract length
When you sign a contract with a home
broadband or mobile broadband provider you can expect it to last
for 12 months.
This means you have to subscribe to the service for a minimum of
12 months and cancelling early will result in penalties dependant
on how early you cancel.
If you would rather pay monthly you can do this with some
broadband providers, such as Plusnet. Be advised that with a
rolling monthly contract you will likely need to pay both set up
and cancellation fees but this gives you the option of ending the
contract at any time. If you need broadband only for a few weeks or
a month, it's wise to simply purchase a mobile broadband
- If you sign up for a 12 month contract but realistically
need broadband only for a few months, you are likely to pay both
the set up fees (unless there is a promotion) as well as the
cancelation charge (if you decide to cut it short).
- If you need a temporary broadband solution, you should
consider mobile broadband.
You need to make sure you understand the usage allowance on your
chosen broadband package. This is effectively the limit on how much
you can download in a given time period (most often calculated per
month). If you go over these limits you may incur a penalty fee.
Most broadband providers clearly state their broadband download
limits, others offer unlimited downloads but these are subject to a
fair usage policy.
A fair usage policy is put in place when broadband ISPs offer
unlimited downloads. The policy makes sure that you don't affect
other broadband users by downloading way over the policy's
If you are a heavy broadband user then you need to make sure the
package you choose has a download limit that is realistic for your
needs. So if you are always downloading movies and watching
on-demand TV on the BBC iPlayer then you need to take that into
account. Broadband providers (including mobile operators, if you
are using mobile broadband) allow customers access to a page or app
where they can view their usage and keep an eye on their download
- If you download a lot of content and constantly stream
online videos (BBC iPlayer), you should consider going for packages
with unlimited usage.
- If you ignore your allowance and go over it, you may be
charged extra, have your download speeds slowed down or your
broadband disconnected for a certain period of time.
Your online activity can be limited if you decide to go for a
broadband provider that supplies only basic speeds (2Mbps). This is
why you need to realistically assess what you are going to use your
broadband connection for. Do you like streaming movies? Do you
download tons of music? Do you use Skype to keep in touch with your
family? Do you upload high resolution images to your personal site?
Are you a keen online gamer?
If you do all or a few of the above, chances are basic broadband
is simply not going to be sufficient enough for you. This is why
you should consider getting broadband with higher speeds. While
traditional ADSL internet providers are likely to do the trick, for
superfast performance you might want to look into getting fibre
optic broadband which can deliver speeds of 25Mbps and more. This
is also a good solution for households with multiple devices which
are likely to be connected at the same time.
If you are in the market for what the latest broadband
technology can bring, you might want to look at BT's
Fibre-to-the-Premises on Demand (up to 330Mbps) or Virgin Media's
120Mbps service. These speeds can be perfect for consumers who work
online from home while other members of their families play games,
download music or stream content.
For an extensive guide on broadband speeds, check out our Beginner's Guide to
- If you use broadband for data heavy activities, you are
likely to need a fast connection.
- ADSL is a good option but for faster speeds you may want to
look at fibre optic broadband.
If you are looking for broadband and you have more than three
people living in your household, you should consider getting
broadband with superfast speeds and unlimited usage (read above).
This is because when broadband is used simultaneously by multiple
users (your sister is using Skype, your mother is looking up new
recipes online, your brother is playing games while you want to
stream content via BBC iPlayer) the overall speed is slowed down so
that every family member gets an equal connection.
If you have children or teenagers in your household, you may
want to consider getting parental control software. Some ISPs, such
as TalkTalk, provide this for free. These will protect your kids
from entering malicious website and seeing inappropriate
- If your family is very broadband-dependant, it's best to
opt for a fibre optic connection.
- If there are kids in your household, you may want to
install parent control tools.
Do I need phone and digital TV services as
If you are considering purchasing a broadband product and also
know that you will need phone and digital TV services, be advised
that taking three services from a single provider is often cheaper.
Simplifydigital's recent study showed that bundling can save
consumers up to £395 per year.
- If you need more than one service (for example broadband,
phone and digital TV), consider bundling them from a single
If you know that you don't use broadband daily (and when you do,
you simply read the news, use email or shop around) then there is
no point spending too much money on internet services.
Browsing the web doesn't have to cost a fortune. ISPs such as
TalkTalk, Plusnet, Primus or Direct Save Telecom all have market
leading deals which are cheap as chips.
Another good option for light or occasional users is mobile
However, if you know that you will require a lot from your
broadband connection, it's better to opt for higher tier packages
to avoid penalties. Look at packages from Sky, Virgin Media or
- Find out what services (broadband speeds, usage allowance)
your budget can get you.
- Always remember that just because a broadband provider
offers cheap broadband or says it has the best broadband deals, it
doesn't mean it is the best broadband provider for you.
A quick buzz to a customer services hotline might resolve a vast
majority of issues, but there always is an annoying minority of
problems that will require you to take one step further than
calling up, complaining and hanging up.
To solve your problem and get full support from your broadband
provider as well as organisations it belongs to, you have to know
your rights and what you can and cannot do.
This is why Simplifydigital is here to reveal the most effective
ways to put your broadband woes behind you once and for all.
Step one: Give your ISP a chance
There are a number of problems you can face concerning your
broadband services; you didn't agree with one point in the policy,
there was a billing error, a member of the support team was rude to
you, you encountered a technical issue - the list goes on. To make
sure you don't get transferred five times (and be kept on hold for
thirty minutes on top of that), double check which department you
should be dialling.
If you don't wish to call, you can contact your ISP's support
team via social media (i.e. Twitter), email or through the
provider's website using a web form. However, sometimes this is not
enough. If your issue is not resolved within a reasonable period of
time (often estimated by a support team member, tweeted or emailed
to you), you then have the right to make your voice heard and
contact a company representative higher up the food chain.
Top Tip: Using Twitter and Facebook is a great
way of addressing issues and getting them solved quickly because
words spread like wildfire on social media platforms. No company
likes bad publicity, so every problem (including yours) will get
Step two: Lodging your complaint
If you waited longer than your supplier advised, it is time to
find out what are the steps you should take in order to file an
official complaint. Again, some providers will have web forms to
fill in, addresses to send physical letters to or phone numbers to
call up. A formal written complaint is also called a "deadlock
letter", which means that you have given your ISP every opportunity
to repair the broken but it neglected to do so.
Once you have filed a complaint, companies are under an
obligation to acknowledge it and respond to it as soon as possible.
If a company foresees a delay in dealing with your issue, it must
let you know beforehand that the process may take longer than
Top Tip: Make sure your letter of
complaint is short and to the point so that it gets read entirely
rather than skimmed through.
Step three: Talking to the bosses
If a firm did not react in any way to your formal complaint, it
is recommended to contact a senior employee within the company (for
instance the MD or the CEO). Every C-level executive cares deeply
about the way their business is represented and seen by customers
which is why they will do their best to be as helpful as possible
and make sure that your issue gets resolved quickly.
Top Tip: It is important to not overdo it - a
CEO might be less concerned about the fact that you lost your
services for an hour last year and might consider your peril
nothing but a time waste. Nevertheless, if your issue is more
serious, for example, you were mistreated as a customer or your
services disappeared and no support member managed to help you, you
must make the senior executives aware as this is the firm's last
chance to redeem itself before you seek assistance elsewhere.
Final straw: Seeking help elsewhere
If you've called, complained, spent hours on the phone speaking
to senior execs and nothing worked, take a deep breath and look at
the following two options.
All broadband providers, both business and domestic are
subscribed to an Ofcom-approved Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR) scheme. In other words, this is an alternative, impartial and
free resolution option which will take you one step closer to
solving your problem, if not resolving it completely. However, be
ready to march at a snail pace as help from ADR schemes tends to
take time and not all issues get resolved in the end (the majority
If you think that your case is very serious, you might want to
take the matter to court. But think very carefully before taking
this path as it is often costly as it is lengthy - although your
complaint will be filed under the small claims category, you might
end up forking out as much as £5,000 for court expenses. Find out
more about the legal process here.
Top Tip:It is wise not to take any legal
actions singlehandedly. Although it's not obligatory, it's best to
consult a solicitor to confirm how legitimate and serious your
issue really is. Be wary that the Civil Court categorises broadband
complaints as small, non-serious cases. Consider other routes
before taking this one as it will cost you both time and money.
Tips which may prevent issues from starting in the first
- Read through forums and see how others dealt with similar
situations. Talking to a family member or a colleague who
encountered the same issue almost always helps;
- When calling customer services be polite and patient. People
working for your ISP are there to help and being rude and
short-tempered has never helped anyone;
- Don't be lured into a deal only because the price seems to be
impressive - the service might not be. If your package isn't what
you expected, upgrade or switch. It's much easier than seeking
- Do your homework - have your friends used this ISP's services?
What do people on online forums recommend?
- Don't delete emails or throw away letters from your broadband
provider - even bills - as these can be used as evidence which you
might be required to present at a later date.