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  Guide to Getting Broadband  

Broadband enables an always on connection to the Internet at speeds at least 25 times faster than typically obtained over a dial-up connection.  The phone can be used concurrently, so you may be able to release one of two lines and use the money saved to pay for the Broadband subscription. Most people are surprised at how much extra use the Internet connection gets when they move to broadband, and would never consider going back to a dial-up connection.

Depending on your geographical location, speeds from 512 kbps to 8192 kbps (bits per second * 210) are typically available, however 2048 kbps is usually adequate for most people initially; to put this in context you probably get about 40 kbps from your dialup line right now. 

Most domestic installations use the existing telephone line to deliver broadband.  Occasionally there are complications which delay or prevent service, but these can usually be overcome.  If problems are insuperable, broadband can usually be delivered over the mobile phone network, cable or satellite instead of the phone line.

The cost is about £47 for initial setup (usually deferred if you stay with the supplier for over a year) followed by between £4.99 and about £24.99 a month for the Internet Service Provider (ISP).  The cost varies with the service: the lower price options are available for slower speed lines or those willing to accept a usage cap (either in terms of amount of data per month, or time limited).  These prices include VAT and do vary a little depending on which ISP and data transfer limit you choose.  For most people, about £9.75 a month works out as the best deal.

Selecting which company to provide your broadband can be time consuming and expensive if you get it wrong.  Check out our list of considerations when choosing an ISP.

Some ISPs will try to sell you their package, that includes a Universal Serial Bus (USB) external modem.  Donít fall for it.  The USB port could be a bottleneck that may throttle your speed, and you will be forced to reconnect to the Internet at each boot.  There are two alternatives that I would recommend:

1)    Replace your current modem or if there is room in the PC, just add a new one.  The cost would be in the region of £25 for an internal one and about £45 for an external.

2)    Have the Internet connection go into a router.  This is the most common solution.  The signal would then go to your computer via an Ethernet port.  Modern PCs usually have an Ethernet port already; otherwise, one can easily be fitted for a little over £10.  The router costs between £6.99 and about £100 depending on quality and possibly wireless signal strength, but you then have a permanent connection to the Internet (as opposed to making the connection manually each time you boot), and you can share your broadband connection with other (possibly wireless) computers or other household appliances.  Also, routers generally come bundled with access points, switches, firewalls and modems built in.

For an always on Internet connection, you would be well advised to have a firewall.  Option 1) above would entail obtaining a software one which would have a detrimental effect on the performance of your PC and possibly add to the cost of moving to broadband.  Option 2) implies a hardware one external from your PC.  For both options, micro filters are required for every telephone socket at a cost of about £4.50 each.

Existing dial-up ISPs will not usually give you a free mailbox once you stop using their service.  To maintain an e-mail address you have several e-mail oprions.

And that is all there is to it.  Expect a delay of 7 - 10 days for BT to enable the line (arranged by the ISP).  If you would like 1ComputerCare to arrange everything just contact us.  There is often no charge for arranging the broadband service, and your PC and router can be configured in less than an hour.