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Internet in the UK - Your Options Explored

This page discusses Broadband and dial-up accounts in the UK and provides links to our other Internet-related pages


Broadband

Broadband is now the number one way to connect to the Internet - Providers are commonly offering speeds of up to 16 Megabits per second, which is several hundred times faster than the older dial-up service.

You'll need a special Broadband modem or router to connect to a Broadband service, and your phone line will need to be Broadband-enabled by one of the many companies offering Broadband in the UK.

To find out more about high-speed Broadband (also known as ADSL), see our dedicated Broadband page.

BT Home HubWe recommend: BT Total Broadband - Offering speeds of up to 16 Meg from £13 a month. BT is a respected name and their Broadband service offers lots of extras. For low-cost broadband with UK call centres, we recommend Plusnet.

On most of their plans, you get a free wireless BT Home Hub. BT Total Broadband customers also get a BT Vision digital TV recorder for on-demand telly. Details at bt.com/btbroadband

BT Vision set-top box
Dial-up

Before Broadband came along, dialup was how most people connected to the Internet. To use dial-up, you connect a dial-up 56k modem to your PC, and plug the other end into a phone line.

Dialup is considerably slower than Broadband. Some UK Internet Service Providers offer dial-up using 0800 numbers if you're prepared to commit to a monthly contract, otherwise you're typically charged by the minute.

We suggest: If you're looking for dial-up Internet access, we currently recommend BT Yahoo as an ISP.

Mobile

Lots of current mobile phones can access the Internet (and we're not talking WAP here)... so you can surf websites and read email on the move.

We suggest: If you're looking for mobile Internet access, we currently recommend:

  • For occasional access to email on the move, consider getting a free BT Yahoo Pay As You Go account.
  • T-Mobile Web'n'walk USB modemIf you want to connect your laptop to the Internet while away from home or the office, look at T-Mobile Mobile Broadband. Their 3G network covers a fair amount of the UK, and at the time of writing, their Mobile Broadband tariff provides high speed mobile Internet access using 3G, with a USB wireless modem. Speeds of up to 1.8Meg are available.
    It's also worth considering the Mobile Broadband offering from o2 Mobile Broadband
For more on Mobile Internet, see our dedicated Internet on the Move page.

UK Internet FAQ

Want to get more?

If you're looking to get more from your Internet connection... consider Broadband and wi-fi. This site offers some useful information on both of these areas:

  • Broadband Advice - Information on high-speed, always-on Broadband Internet access.
  • Wi-fi - Internet without wires. Connect a router to your Broadband connection then access the Internet from all of your PCs, laptops and PDAs
Speed up?

Want to go faster? If you're not able to get Broadband where you are - or you're looking for a faster connection without the Broadband outlay - you might want to take a look at the service from OnSpeed.

To use it, you'll need to download their special software. Once installed, you won't even notice it's there, it runs in the background speeding up your Internet connection and compressing data automatically. More details on our OnSpeed Review page.

Connection to phone line

To connect to the Internet using dial-up service (as opposed to Broadband Advice or Wi-fi), you'll need to plug a dial-up modem into a phone line - but what about if you don't have a phone line close to your PC?

The common solution is to run a telephone extension cable from your home's Master phone socket - kits are available from Maplin Electronics.

Telephone Extender If you don't fancy running cables around your house, there is another option: Use your home's mains wiring to run a wireless phone extension. More on this on our Phone Extension page

Remote control your PC

Once you have Broadband at home, you may be interested to know that you can access your home PC by remote control - great for accessing your files and emails from work, a hotel, a cybercafe or even from a Windows Mobile PDA.

Access Your PC from AnywhereFind out what the remote service offered by GoToMyPC. can do for you. More on our dedicated GoToMyPC page.

 

Some other useful links:

  • Web tools - Links to webpage utilities, web design links, search engine submissions and counters.

  • The Phorm Controversy - Plans are in hand for UK Internet Providers to capture data on what you've recently been surfing for, and pimping out data to allow targeting of adverts at you. Find out more

  • Got a question about UK Broadband? Try our Broadband FAQ

  • Web hosting and Domain names - Details of UK hosting. We recommend Simply.

  • Home security- Our review of a leading home security system

  • Webmaster info - details of how to make money from your website

  • Broadband Compared - See how the UK Broadband providers stack up


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