Internet Service Providers and Broadband

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There are always bargains out there for people considering a change. When it comes to cashback it is worth registering with You will often see substantial cashback for Virgin, Plusnet, BT and Now TV

BT, not to be outdone, is offering broadband at less than half price to people on benefits, starting at 15 a month. The benefts in question are U&niversal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseekers Allowance, Income and employment support allowances.  This will continue for a year before a review.  Amazingly, BT reckons that 4.6 million households will be eligible.

The Post Office is advertising totally unlimited broadband for 19 a month (up to 17Mb) with free setup. The router is sent free of charge. The contract is 18 months with a promise of no increases.  You would then be free to stay at a higher fee or move. n.b. this includes line rental. If you don't take one of their call packages the connection charge for a phone call is 18p. then there are charges per minute for UK and mobile numbers. Get the leaflet at a Post Office.

Talktalk often gives the lowest quote. In 2021 it starts at 16.99 and month for landline and 21.95 for cable. The speed you get often depends and the distance to your nearest BT cabinet in the street. In most areas the speed of broadband has increased as BT has been connecting their telephone exchanges to the cabinets via the faster fibre optic cable, which the connection to your house is still by a copper wire.  With copper, unlike fibre, he greater the distance, the slower the speed

Connections via the mobile phone systems are also improving the speed. While 4G connections were very much faster than 3G, already 5G is planned with speeds expected to 200 times the speed of 4G. As these connections are from transmitters, one does wonder whether they will eventually overtake the need for digging up roads. Unfortunately Britain is dragging its feet, even with the installation of 4G and are ranked 29th in the world. This is blamed on planning regulations. And the speeds attained with 4G, at around 15Mbps, are much slower than those in places like Singapore and New Zealand. 

Virgin boosted my (fibre) broadband speed to 100Mb at no additional cost.  But I did find it quite expensive and often wondered if I should change, especially now other providers are increasing their claimed speeds. Eventually I went for Now TV at 35Mb. A considerable saving with phone line and calls included.

Wonder what speed your broadband runs ?  It is a good idea to do a test now and then.  There are numerous test sites that will do this free.  But it is a good idea to use one that is NOT a comparison site, which makes its money by getting you to change. They are almost bound to underestimate and make you dissatisfied. I quite like using, which is consistent.  N.B. if you are testing via your wireless router it is important to realise that the distance between your PC/Laptop/tablet and the router makes a BIG difference, especially through thick walls and ceilings.  The example below is NOT using wireless but has the PC directly connected to the router via cable. 

Note, also that ALL broadband is very much slower UPloading than DOWNloading

Before my move from Virgin there were my speeds for their minimum charge.  People who depend upon their connection for fast speeds can get even higher rates that these using cable.

Virgin cable speed using the Which speed test

I have tested the Now TV speeds. I get 36mb download and 9.29 upload. This is adequate for most people.

hotspots (in my Glossary) In addition many town centres, pubs and restaurants have free wi-fi access, BT have thousands of Hotspots in the UK and Ireland.  Free to their broadband customers and phone contracts.  For others there is a charge e. g. 4 a day. If you search for Wifi on your wireless device you may see these with the FON word in the address. Some hotels are depending on this.

Compare Broadband offers (home or mobile) at Also see smartphone, tablet and iPad deals.

If you don't even have a telephone line you can still access the net this way using a smartphone or tablet with a SIM card.  Click on Mobile Broadband for a Money Supermarket explanation.  Compare prices and claimed speeds But bear in mind that speed depends on your proximity to the transmitting masts and also whether you have access to 3G and 4G facilities.  In the City of London there is talk that they can get as much as 300 Mb by 4G ! 

If you can connect with your mobile phone you will probably find that you can enable your phone to become a Hotspot for friends who have a tablet but no phone connection

BT have a help page with a number of points to ensure that your broadband speed is maximised

area. Enter your post code at

Studies show that people using wi-fi get 30% slower speed than people who get it via a direct connection  So, if you want to get the fastest connection, connect via a cable to the router.

To get information about the situation at your local exchange enter your post code at

Good article on broadband choices at

There is a comparison site at

There might be various reasons as to why you are getting a slow speed and they could be:

Another useful site is

SkyDSL provides broadband  (via satellite) anywhere in Europe from  and can provide up to 16 megabits per second.  However, you require a dish and a dialup connection to your own ISP, too, which takes the shine off that rather.

To settle complaints about ISP's you can look at the following sites (Association of ISP's) Ombudsman Services:communications ),  (Internet Services Adjudication Scheme)

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