If you live in the East Riding of Yorkshire, your options when it comes to broadband are a bit different than in if you live elsewhere. Here's the 411 on getting broadband in Hull and its surrounding areas...
In the UK, there are dozens of different broadband providers offering internet services nationwide. But the East Riding areas around Hull remain an exception to the mainstream UK broadband market.
Unlike anywhere else in Britain, the Hull region is served almost entirely by Kingston Communications (KC). This means it lacks the competition and deals enjoyed in areas with access to the BT and Virgin Media networks.
Why is Hull broadband different?
Hull Corporation, which eventually became broadband and telephone provider KC, opened its first telephone exchange in Kingston-upon-Hull way back in 1904.
It was one of many municipal phone companies operating across the UK at the time - all of which were gradually absorbed into the Post Office Telephone Group, which later became BT.
But Hull and its surrounding towns and villages were the few exceptions to this change, staying as the only telecoms monopoly in the country.
However, the last few years have seen a few changes in the area, with a new provider entering the market and regulator Ofcom giving the green light for KC to offer broadband and home phone bundles.
Kingston Communications (KC)
KC is by far the largest broadband and telephone supplier in Hull and its surrounding areas. For many residents it is still the only option in terms of getting online.
The provider offers six different "Karoo" broadband packages, all providing a fast and reliable service - even faster in upgraded areas - and each offering different download allowances, from 5GB to 150GB a month.
In October 2010, Ofcom decided to allow KC to offer bundles, giving consumers in the Hull area better value for money. So you can now save money by taking both your broadband and home phone from KC.
Hull broadband alternatives
A mobile broadband dongle that uses the 3G mobile phone network to get you on the web - without the need for a landline - is another possible alternative to KC, especially if your area isn't yet covered by Sure Broadband.
There are loads of pay-as-you-go and one-month contracts available, so you don't always need to sign a long agreement. However, there are still a number of things you need to know before you choose mobile broadband:
- Speed - Average mobile broadband speeds are currently little more than 1Mb, compared with an average nearer 8Mb with a fixed line, so bear this in mind if you need a fast connection.
- Download allowances - Mobile broadband usage limits are usually far lower than with home broadband connections. Providers typically offer between 3GB and 15GB a month, and you could be charged extra if you exceed your allowance.
- Coverage - Before you sign up to any mobile broadband provider, carry out a postcode check to make sure you'll get good coverage where you live and work.