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A Guide To: Superfast Broadband

It’s become a bit of a buzzword in recent times, but superfast broadband is being made available to more and more of the UK; and as it can offer speeds of over 350Mbps it is becoming a popular choice with consumers.

In this guide we assess superfast broadband and talk you through how it works, pros and cons and how to speed up your broadband connection without upgrading your package.

How it works

The majority of broadband connections in the UK work by having the connection delivered via a telephone line, however superfast broadband is instead delivered by a cable or fibre optic broadband network. These cables are made up of glass and plastic which allows the data to move at much faster speeds than it can along the copper pipes that have traditionally been used.

Can I get it?

There’s strong chance you can already get some form of super fast broadband package and even if you can’t at present you should be able to in the near future as we are in the middle of a superfast broadband roll out. At the moment around 60-70% of households and business can access superfast broadband, and the government is aiming to have it available to 95% of the UK by 2017.

You can find out if you can receive superfast broadband by using a postcode checker, this will show you superfast broadband packages available in your area from all the major providers and you’ll be able to compare them by looking at factors such as monthly cost and/or installation fees, speeds available, data allowances, contract length and much more. Even if you’ve used a postcode checker and found that superfast broadband isn’t yet available in your area, you can find out when it will be by visiting Openreach’s superfast broadband website.

Advantages:

Speed: As you’d expect superfast broadband has its name for a reason, it’s the fastest type of broadband currently available and can allow you to download large amounts of data – such as films – in a few minutes.

Performance: Superfast broadband can handle multiple peoples surfing habits at once so everyone in the house can do their own thing without having to worry about losing performance or suffering a drop in their connection speed.

Better for gamers: If you enjoy gaming on line you’ll never have to worry about suffering a lag or momentary freeze in your game play.

Disadvantages:

Installation costs: Although installation costs are dropping, and will continue to do so while superfast broadband roll out continues, installing fibre optic cables is still quite an expensive and time consuming task when compared to standard broadband.

Monthly Cost: While superfast broadband offers much greater speed and performance than all other types of broadband it does come at a price. However, you can negate some of the cost by bundling your phone and TV service in with your broadband deal.

Compare providers

At present the major proivders (BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk) are the ones offering the broadest range of superfast packages, so the best way to separate all their deals and see which one is right for you is to use a comparison website. They let you search through what’s available based on what you need and should help you come to a decision about which provider to go with. A good tip with comparison sites is to check more than one as they sometimes don’t always have all the offers currently available so you could be missing out.

Speed up your existing connection

If you’ve checked and superfast broadband isn’t due to reach your area for another year or two there are a few things you can do to speed up your existing connection, they include:

Update your web browser and anti-virus software: Anti-virus software that has expired stops updating its library which leaves your computer or device vulnerable to new viruses. These can infect your computer and slow them down by using your bandwidth to upload extra data.

Don’t allow download managers to run in the background: If you use a download manager to organise files you’ve received from the web, make sure they are turned off after you’ve finished downloading. This stops them from constantly sending and receiving data when you’re not using them.

Check for interference: Other electrical equipment in the house – such as microwaves – can interfere with wireless signals. Try switching them of when you’re not browsing, or at the very least as far away from your router as possible.

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