In the UK, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer speeds of ‘up to’ a certain amount.  Usually in practice the speeds users end up downloading at are much less.  Coupled with this during peak times speeds may be reduced even further.  It is therefore important for consumers to be able to test their broadband speed and determine if it is time they shopped around for their broadband or contacted their current provider to see if they can improve the speed to their home or business.

It is important for every internet user to know the speed of their internet providers. While many of the broadband users are given their “internet speed” by their respective providers, the number they are given are laboratory condition results (meaning it is a high guess that is optimistic at best). ISP’s do this because legally it is true, however one of the many factors of the connection speed of every DSL connection is the distance from the server, therefore performing an internet speed test and knowing the true speed of a connection is a good factor in determining the value of your internet connection.

There are many websites that allow for a user to test for their internet speed. However, for an accurate test, the user’s router and modem must be properly configured for the test to properly send information packages (known as pings) to the computer without being blocked. Therefore the average user might have trouble testing the connection speed, but it is easy once the user learns how to do it.

A simple search on the internet will result in different links for websites that allow for a such a service. However, the user must take a couple of things into account before choosing the link to see a website. First, make sure the computer browser is up to date, and a stable browser. Second, the user should make sure to have both Adobe Flash Player and Java is installed and up to date. After making sure all the programs on the system is ready for a broadband speed test, the user should choose a website that offers these services. There are some websites that offer paid services; however, many of the free websites are accurate enough for a home internet user. After reading the website’s instructions for router settings and applying them carefully, the user should take a couple of precautions that will make the broadband speed test more accurate. First, the user should close all other applications. Second the user should make sure that only his connection is active on the router. Then, all the user has to do is click on Test now, and the speed will be given accurately.

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Needless to say, the internet has revolutionised the way in which people gather and send information. As a result the requirement for having home broadband has become a virtual necessity for most people in the UK and around the modern world. However, if consumers are on a budget and do not shop around carefully, they could end up paying for a service that is in excess of what they actually need from their internet service provider (ISP).

There are ways in which consumers can get broadband in their home for as less than £4 (excluding normal phone line rental of course).  Currently the primary method of finding the best deals currently on offer to consumers which also suits their requirements is to do a home broadband comparison and compare the latest offers available across all the UK internet service providers. In order to compare broadband deals all users need do is a basic internet search and look through one or more of the sites out there that compare the latest broadband deals for free. Users shouldn’t be required forced or coerced into registering with their details first.  If a site does this, then this can often mean that the comparison service in question may be keeping user registration data and can then spam them or pass their information as potential leads to third parties without their knowledge. Obviously, if users do not have internet already in your home, then they will need to compare broadband on another computer available to them. This could be a friend or family member’s computer or alternatively a visit to a public library or internet cafe is ideal and users can begin their search there.

In the UK, due to the bandwidth restrictions of ordinary copper cable in most areas, consumers can find decent speeds for packages which start at £4 (exc. line rental). The least expensive forms offered by broadband providers such as TalkTalk or PlusNet may not have unlimited download limits but for many people who just use the internet to browse or talk to friends this will usually be enough on a month-by-month usage basis. Go slightly higher and good decent speeds are available which are often combined with unlimited download allowances from other major providers such as Sky, Virgin or BT. It’s really worth users investing some time to draw up a shortlist and weigh up the price against their requirements. It’s also important consumers are honest with themselves by asking themselves questions such as – Will I really be downloading that much? or Do I really need superfast broadband when I rarely download large files? All these questions should be factored in before buyers commit to a broadband contract.

The internet has become such a powerful force in our modern world that if users really must get it in your home as soon as possible, it’s worth remembering that home broadband is an ongoing monthly cost. In the UK consumers are lucky enough to have a wealth of competition when it comes to broadband and they can compare broadband packages to find one that both suits their requirements and won’t hurt their bank balance too much.

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By the end of 2010, Wireless subscriptions reached half a billion globally. This means a 10% increase when compared to June 2010, according to the data gathered by the OECD. They have suggested that the main contributor to this growth is the increasing usage and popularity of portable internet devices and suggested that the growth was driven by the popularity of mobile broadband, smartphones and tablets.

Global subscriptions in different nations can depend on the countries infastructure and people’s requirements/trends. The Netherlands and Switzerland were the nations with the most fixed-line broadband subscriptions with 38.1 subscriptions per 100 homes. Korea are the leaders for wireless subscriptions. 89.8 per 100 people have wireless, followed by France – 84.8 and Sweden – 82.9. In the UK, it’s a lot lower with only around 40% for wireless broadband subscriptions.

In summary, the OECD average for wireless connections was 41.6% which meant that there are a total of 512 million connections. Considering the global financial crisis the OECD noted that overall broadband subscriptions have seen growth. The success is likely to be down to the growing popularity of broadband packages as bundles which will include home broadband, home phone and digital TV. In contrast however, fixed-line broadband has only seen a 6% increase which is the lowest growth over the last 10+ years.

Wireless could prove to rise even more in popularity since the Wi-Fi Alliance has teamed up with the Wireless Broadband Alliance to develop standards for roaming broadband services which will make it easier for people to connect anywhere in the world.

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When the internet first started it was created with good intentions and was often times used for good things such as communication, information sharing and work related tasks. As the internet evolved the focus became more on sharing media, gaming and other fun activities!

Unfortunately now that broadband internet is readily available and open to everyone users often realize that they can use their connections to download many different types of content. Downloading content from websites such as torrent sites and other illegal sources is a very serious problem and it can carry very serious consequences. Many internet service providers how now had to begin to monitor their users internet traffic to find individuals who are downloading illegal content. Download illegal contact can lead to heavy consequences including prosecution.

It is very important to adhere to your broadband providers’ fair usage policy and not surpass your download limit. Many internet service providers offer their users fast and high quality internet on the principal that each and every person will enjoy it equally and follow the rules. When you make the decision to download GB or even TB or illegal materials not only are you doing harm to yourself, the companies that produced that media and to your internet service provider but you are also hurting the other users of your same internet service provider which is hardly fair.

Even downloading one song illegally can carry serious consequences and should be avoided. How would feel if you lost your internet connection or went to jail over a single song? It hardly seems worth the trouble just for three minutes of music. Many of the songs and videos that users download illegally can easily be found on online services such as rhapsody or iTunes for incredibly low prices. The prices of online media has dropped to practically nothing in the past year which makes downloading content illegally and even worse idea.

If you just need to listen to a song you can often do that legally and free on many websites including MySpace Music and YouTube. So remember; adhere to your broadband internet providers’ bandwidth limit or fair usage policy, follow the law and don’t download music and be part of something great and make the internet a better; safer and friendlier place for everyone.

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Recently MPs are suggesting that the Mobile Network – Everything Everywhere which was formed by the merger of T-Mobile and Orange should use it’s profits to fund rural broadband. The funding would come from the profits made from selling mobile spectrum. In addition, certain frequencies that Everything Everywhere uses in the 1800MHz range should be disposed of. This could mean the company would earn a further £450 million.

The Everything Everywhere network was given the mobile spectrum for free by the government back in the 1990’s and stands to make nearly £300 million in profit once fees for rental have all been paid. Labour MP Tom Whatson and Ian Lucas the shadow minister for the digital economy have requested that the additional revenue to be used deliver super fast broadband to rural areas and communities instead of going back into Everything Everywhere and profiting it’s shareholders. The French and German governments are the actual shareholders so the profit and hence benefit will be for them rather than the UK. The mobile network (EE) are disputing the benefit it stands to make because they believe that they might end up with an overall loss after the adjustment to other frequencies.

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There are four main factors to consider when looking to select which mobile broadband provider and package is best for you; namely – speed, performance, bandwidth requirements and thus overall cost must all be factored into the decision making process. These all need to be taken into account when deciding whether to use mobile broadband or fixed broadband for high speed internet access.

Types of Mobile Broadband
Mobile broadband is available either via USB dongles that are about the size of a cell phone and connect to a computer’s USB connection, USB modems that are even smaller than the dongle and can also connect via the USB connection, mobile data cards which require a laptop with installed plug and go software, or broadband routers, similar to traditional cable routers, that can dock both wired and wireless USB dongles.

Mobile Broadband Advantages
The advantages of using mobile broadband versus fixed broadband include the fact that it is simple to install, can be installed on multiple computers and requires no phone lines. It allows for access to the internet on the go without having to be tied to a particular place like the home or office. However, cost and performance may not be optimal, depending on user needs. Because mobile broadband is generally provided via 3G cell phone networks it will only work where there is a cell phone signal.

Mobile Broadband Coverage
Also users must take into account that speed in areas that offer 3G coverage will tend to be much faster than in standard cell network areas. While internet speed is on the increase, as evidenced by the introduction of 4G networks over in the US by AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, 4G networks which are purported to be much faster than current 3G networks are not yet widely available. In the UK, O2 broadband are experimenting with 4G but it will take some time for the infrastructure to be ready. Households with only one computer that limit usage to light surfing or downloading email will probably find mobile broadband feasible and effective from a cost standpoint.

However, homes that use three or more computers on a daily basis to upload photos, download TV programs or play online games will most likely find the high cost of transferring data across available 3G networks to be unreasonable considering that very few of the current mobile broadband providers offer packages with unlimited broadband access. In such cases a home network with a cable and/or wireless router with unlimited access is probably the most cost effective and preferable option.

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The Government announced last week that it is going to support a joint bid between Devon and Somerset for super-fast broadband to be installed and has agreed to hand out £30m to support this change. Local councils have also pledged £22m. Overall South-west councils can proceed with a huge investment program which may be in the region of £100m in total. The bid was only 1 in 3 that was permitted to proceed by the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK Unit (BDUK).

What this will mean is that that both home users and local business owners will benefit. Hundreds of thousands of business and homes in Devon can see return from this investment in super-fast broadband. This is especially prudent for rural businesses as it will mean they will be able to compete with urban competitors.

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Many UK broadband providers label internet packages as being ‘up to’ a certain speed but in reality you almost never reach these speeds unless you’re using fibre-optic super fast broadband.  The current infrastructure in the UK is such that most broadband providers rely on copper cables to transmit data packets.  These cables often have higher resistance and can’t support as much data at peak times compared to fibre-optic cables.

If you are a current customer of a broadband internet provider, your internet speed will come up with the small icon on your window that indicates that your service is operating. Usually, for an excellent internet speed connection you would expect a speed that registers a value of around 20Mbps or more.  If you actually performed a speed test and your connection was registering just 20Mbps then this would mean that you should be surfing on the a lot quicker than the rest of the UK.  If your broadband provider does not give you instructions on how to test your speed (and most probably won’t) then your best bet would be to find an online speed test from one of the many sites that provide this sort of test.  This can be done from your own PC from the comfort of your own home.

Online internet speed tests usually work by measuring the amount of time your PC internet connection takes to download and upload a file (a small packet of data) from a nearby server. The test should not go into any of your files and is supposedly safe. Do not trust any sites which appear to be speed test sites but then come up with some options like a ‘free PC check’ or ‘check errors on windows’. It is always good to browse around and try and find a test site which looks like it is trustworthy and perhaps has good reviews online.

If you are using a broadband internet connection from one of the major broadband providers, your broadband speed can be tested safely. Your internet connection should not be compromised in anyway and it will still be in your control with no risk of any viruses being sent to harm your PC. An internet spyware attack may get through if you agree to install any software. You should avoid any such test and only use a test that runs purely through a website.

A broadband speed test will give you result of the quickest rate of contact from your PC to the test server that you pick or a nearby server. Keep in mind that you should pick a speed test server that is closest to you to attain the most accurate reading of your speed. Also, your speed test can be different at different times of the day because of network congestion.  Once you’ve established your real connection speed, you may want to call your provider or go and compare broadband providers in your area if you feel your speed is well short of what you’re currently paying for.

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The world of broadband can seem a bit confusing. Most consumers want the same thing, they want a fast, reliable service at the lowest cost possible. It’s not that difficult to get what you want from broadband providers if you are willing to do just a little bit of research. There are plenty of broadband comparison sites that have loads of information about the various internet providers in the UK. Once you know what you are looking for and what works best with your budget, you can easily get the best deal out there.

You can learn how to save money each month by shopping around for your broadband. The first thing you need to learn about is speed. Most broadband deals are centred around the speed that the provider offers. In general, cable providers can offer you faster speeds than telephone companies. Speeds will almost always be listed as “up to” a certain speed. You can almost be certain that whatever speed you see, you will actually only receive half of the speed advertised. That is not to say that these companies are trying to rip you off, but the speeds they are advertising as top speeds will only occur rarely and under optimal conditions.

Besides speeds, broadband providers will also tailor their speeds around a usage limit. The usage limits range from 10 GB – 40 GB and then unlimited (which obviously adds to the cost and is based on fair usage anyway so not really unlimited) . What that means for the consumer is that you need to have some idea of how much you use the internet and what you use it for. Downloading a lot of media or playing multiplayer online games can get you to your usage limits a lot faster and especially if more than one user on the connection is doing those things as well.

By using Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you can find many broadband comparison sites that will give you a lot of detail about an ISP that you are interested in using. It helps if you pay attention to special offers from these providers. Many broadband providers will offer you several months of free service for signing up with them. Keep in mind that broadband in the UK is a highly competitive market and there are plenty of deals to be had.

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All consumers want the best broadband that money can buy, but most people don’t want to have to spend all their money on it. Many UK consumers want to know where they can get the best broadband deals. A quick online search is a great first step when looking for broadband providers. There are many services which offer a good comparison service of all the top broadband providers so that people can find the cheapest deals, offers and packages available.

Once consumers find a site which compares broadband packages, they would need to sort by price to view the latest cheapest deals and packages.  Bear in mind that cheap broadband can come with its pitfalls.  Some broadband providers offering cheaper broadband may try and tie subscribers into longer contracts, speeds on offer might be lower (less than 8Mb), they might limit download allowance which in turn can mean a subscriber could even incur usage charges if they go over the set download allowance.  Some providers even limit bandwidth for periods of time if fair usage is exceeded.  Some of the more sceptical individuals out there even theorise that for very cheap broadband packages, bandwidth allocation during peak times could also be affected and given less priority thus giving subscribers a slower connection.

It is also important to measure cost against requirements.  For example, if a consumer is looking for cheap broadband but is likely to rely heavily on broadband because they are working from home, then it would make sense for them to pay that little bit more and get the second or third cheapest broadband package available in their area.  This would also probably give them more download allowance.

In terms of availability, whichever Internet service provider (ISP) people decide to get their broadband from shouldn’t essentially matter as most UK broadband is provided through the same infrastructure of copper cables which are all owned by BT.  Providers who offer amongst the cheapest UK broadband in the UK include PlusNet and TalkTalkVirgin Broadband is currently an exception to providers reliant on BT’s copper cables. In many areas, Virgin can provide their fibre-optic cables which mean faster speeds, however their superfast broadband packages aren’t cheap and typically range from £20 or more but the bandwidth is good. Again depending on budget, this might be cheap for some people.

In summary, All consumers should ask themselves is whether a cheap package is good enough for what they require.  If they need fast speeds, high or unlimited download allowance then cheaper isn’t always necessarily the better option.  Users will need to compare broadband find the cheapest packages and decide which are most suitable for their own individual requirements vs. what they are willing to pay for or can afford.

Broadband Comparison UK can provide users with Free UK Broadband Comparison. Compare broadband to get the best cheap broadband services, deals and offers from all the UK broadband internet providers. Cheap broadband & mobile broadband packages available.