UK Broadband Internet Access
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Providers of broadband internet access in the UK

Home Networking
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Listings of unlimited, capped and pay as you go broadband ISPs, guides, directories and reviews of providers. Note that ADSL ISPs will generally be companies reselling the BT service, sometimes with enhancements. Also, note that prices fluctuate over time, and this page may not be up to date.

links to some ISPs include advert links

Comparisons

Providers

  • ADSL from Zen Internet

    Up to 20Mb broadband on selected exchanges with a 10GB transfer limit costs 18.37 monthly with 48 (inc. VAT) activation.

    Recommended by reviewers (see links at top of page), reliable enough for companies to use and friends who chose have it at home.  Better customer service, but somewhat more expensive than cut-price rivals.

     

  • ADSL from BT Total Broadband

    BT's up to 20Mb broadband (Option 1) is 13 per month (6.50 first 3 months with an 18 month contract) with a 10GB transfer limit per month.  Includes a free wireless modem and connection.  Line rental costs from 10.75 per month (129 for a 12 months advance payment)

    Up to 38Mb broadband is available for 18 per month with a 40GB limit (30 activation).

    With BT Vision (a digital TV recorder with access to iPlayer) costs from an extra 5 per month.

     

  • Cable modem access from Virgin Media broadband

    10Mb broadband with telephone is currently 28.40 per month (17.90 for the first 3 months) on an 18 month contract (13.90 phone line). Installation is 49.95.

    Up to 50Mb broadband costs 39.40 per month.

    A problem with cable is that there isn't any competition - you can't switch cable providers.  With BT you have other companies offering broadband at other prices.  To move back to BT you need to switch to ADSL and potentially sign up with BT for 18 months to have a telephone line reinstalled.

    Virgin Media's speed in general is good, mail downloads quickly and file downloads are speedy.  It can be connected to Linux very easily.

    History: NTL merged with Telewest and rebranded as Virgin Media after buying Virgin Mobile.

    Discussions of the service are available on Nthell:world and Cableforum.co.uk.

     

  • 20Mb ADSL from TalkTalk

    TalkTalk offer inclusive (free) 20Mb broadband for a total of 19.79 per month (inclusive of line rental) for the first 12 months, wireless router and 12 month contract.  Connection is free

     

  • ADSL from EE Broadband (owner of Orange and T-Mobile)

    Up to 14Mb broadband with no data cap and phone line rental costs 24 per month (19 for EE/Orange/T-Mobile customers) with a wireless router on a 12 month contract.  up to 38Mb Fibre broadband costs from 39 (34 for existing mobile customers)

    See the EE/Orange/ T-Mobile site for details of mobile phones, or see the mobile phone page for cheap EE/Orange/T-Mobile retailers.  The ISP was formerly known as Orange, Wanadoo and Freeserve.

     

  • 14Mb ADSL from Sky

    Sky offer broadband and phone (no requirement for TV) for 24.50 per month (14.50 for the first 6 months).

    A triple-play package of Sky+ TV, phone and broadband costs from 36 per month.

    This consists of their satellite TV service, up to 14Mb ADSL with a 2GB monthly download cap and free wireless modem.  Their TV packages cost from 21.50 per month and the phone service costs 14.50 per month.

     

  • ADSL from Plusnet

    Up to 20Mb ADSL access costs from 6.49 per month for a 12 month contract with 10 GB per month usage allowance and free wireless router.  Setup costs 25 (free if you take their 9.49 telephone line rental).  After 3 months if you are in their low-cost areas you continue to pay 6.49 per month, otherwise you pay either 10.79 and 12.99 depending on where you live.

     

  • BeThere's 24Mb broadband

    BeThere's up to 24Mb broadband costs 22 per month and includes unlimited usage.  Their 12Mb service costs 17 per month, and free connection.

     

  • ADSL from AOL UK (now part of Carphone Warehouse)

    Offers 24Mb broadband with line rental for 20.30 per month currently free for the first month (line rental portion is 13.20) with a 10GB per month allowance.  Connection, modem and filters are currently free.

     

  • ADSL 4 Less pay as you go and unmetered ADSL prices

    Unlimited 20Mb access costs 19.99 per month with 45 connection for a 12 month contract (or a 13 migration fee). 

     

  • Tesco ADSL broadband

    A 20Mb service with a 3GB per month cap costs 19.75 including telephone line rental (40 setup, 5,000 points on sign-up).

     

  • ADSL from Demon

    Demon Home is 15.60 per month for a 20Mb service with a 24 month contract, free setup and modem.

     

  • ADSL from Eclipse.net.uk

    A 20Mb service with 2GB download cap is available for 12.50 with 33.67 setup.

     

  • Other broadband listings:

    • Dmoz's list of UK DSL, Cable and Satellite ISPs
    • Dmoz's mainly US DSL and Cable ISP listings which cover many smaller providers
    • Whichisp.com features broadband provider listings, as well as unmetered and subscription-free ISPs.

     

  • Advantages of broadband

    • Faster access
      • Pages download much faster - extra bandwidth and lower latency means web pages arrive noticeably faster.
      • Downloads of Windows updates (as well as Anti-virus and Firewall software) are much faster. 
      • Uploads are much faster if you upload data to web sites.
    • Instant on - no 20 second dial-up time when you first decide to access the internet.
    • Easily shared between multiple computers and consoles using home and wireless networking.  No noticeable slowdown for small numbers of computers.
    • Can be used for internet telephony or VoIP, which could cut the cost of telephone calls.
    • No worries about rogue dialers - connecting via an ADSL modem the computer can't be persuaded by rogue programs to dial up expensive phone numbers (as long as the regular modem is disconnected).
    • Unlimited, fixed cost packages are available - meaning no concerns about leaving the service on all the time.

     

  • Disadvantages of broadband 

    • Not available everywhere equally - some users won't be able to access broadband over their telephone line (see satellite access), or won't be able to access the very highest speeds.
    • Usually access is by monthly subscription, so you will still pay for the service even if you aren't using it.
    • Initial cost of hardware and connection can be substantial for some packages.

     

  • Speed tests

    Numerous sites offer speed tests to check your download speed, the best include:

     

  • Calculating current internet usage

    Programs such as Netmeter calculate the amount of data transferred across a connection.  If you are considering moving from an uncapped contract (or dial-up) to a capped contract you should calculate how much bandwidth you use (to calculate whether it is worthwhile).

     

  • Buying wireless networking hardware and home networking

    Wireless Networking has price comparisons of ADSL modems, routers and wireless networking products, including micro filters, wireless adapters and combination modems and routers.

    See the home networking page for home networking how-tos.

If you can't get, or don't want broadband, why not try unmetered internet access?


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