Broadband internet access has become a must-have in the home. The ability to get online is rapidly becoming crucial to everyday life - for banking, learning, shopping, entertainment and more.
Broadband...is it really all it's cracked up to be? Why not just stick to old-fashioned dial up, use mobile broadband, or get online through libraries, internet cafes and public Wi-Fi hotspots?
Well, here are just some of the reasons you should have a broadband connection:
Stay online all day and control your internet costs
Broadband services are charged monthly, which means you pay a fixed rate for your connection. You can access the internet as many times as you like, for as long as you like, and when the bill comes through, there won't be any nasty surprises.
Use the phone at the same time
With dial-up, using the internet clogged up the phone line. That's not an issue with broadband. It splits your phone line, so your internet and phone operate on separate systems. This means you can stay online for as long as you want without worrying about hogging the phone, and check emails or information online while chatting to friends and family.
With broadband, you can download large files very quickly. Compared to older ways of getting online like dial-up, the difference in speeds can be astounding. For example, a music track can be downloaded in seconds, and you can get a whole album in a fraction of the time it would take to listen to it.
Fibre optic broadband makes downloads faster still. With a 100Mb connection, for example, entire albums can be downloaded in seconds, and an entire HD movie can be ready to watch in just a few minutes.
Control your life
From managing bank accounts, to shopping for groceries - the internet means we can manage our lives incredibly easily, from the comfort of our own homes.
For example, buying a ticket for travel or a concert can now be done in minutes, and with just a few clicks. Bills can be paid and money transferred between accounts just as easily. Broadband really has made our lives more convenient.
In truth, it's more than convenience. Many services today are based around the internet, and not having access to them can be problematic, or hurt you financially. For example, utilities companies prefer to bill you online, and getting paper bills will cost extra.
Broadband gives you quick and easy access to all the entertainment you could want. You can catch up on the week's TV with catch up services like BBC iPlayer and 4OD. You can stream movies instantly and for as long as you want with subscription services like Netflix and LOVEFiLM. You can listen to music through streaming services like Spotify and Grooveshark. You can play games on PC or console over the internet. You can read about the things that interest you on the myriad of specialist interest websites online.
And all that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Learning resources for children
If you're considering broadband internet access for a family computer, you'll want to know how your kids can benefit. There is a whole host of information on the internet, and if your children are studying for exams or doing coursework, they can use specialised learning resources (such as BBC Bitesize revision aids for Key Stage 2 to AS Level), reference websites (encyclopaedias, dictionaries and language sites) and learning forums. For information on restricting children's broadband internet access, see our article on internet safety.
With all this choice available, you need to thinks about your needs as a user to find the right package for you. Use our comparison service to see which providers offer packages in your area.
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