GUIDE How to Choose a Broadband Internet Provider - Page 7 - UK ISPreview
GUIDE How to Choose a Broadband Internet Provider
By: Mark Jackson - September 5th, 2011 : Page 7 -of- 9
"there are no completely bad ISPs, only bad experiences, and often even some of the weakest providers will still manage to satisfy the majority"

wi-fi adapter cardFixed Wireless

Fixed wireless internet access operators use invisible frequencies of radio spectrum to transmit their service through the air and over a wide radius, much like a home Wi-Fi network. Most wireless ISPs only offer very limited coverage in specific areas, although their price and performance tends to be good. Sadly it's highly unlikely that any wireless provider will cover your home and as a result, for most people, this is simply not an option.

Further Details:

Mobile Broadband

mobile broadband usb modem

Mobile Broadband is a similar technology to Fixed Wireless access except that it uses the lower frequency cell phone network, which gives it a UK coverage of around 90% via five different national operators. It's generally well priced, easy to setup at home (Plug and Play) and some operators, such as Three (3), will include moderate / medium usage allowances of 15GB. Just be aware that long contracts are often used to help keep prices low.

Average UK service speeds tend to hover around the low 2Mbps mark and some operators impose extra restrictions like Traffic Management, excessive image compression or blocks of popular services (Skype, VPN, Video Streaming and or P2P (varies between operators)). Happily it's easy to switch between different operators and the wide availability makes it very useful, although real-world coverage is variable. Future upgrades should bring much faster and more flexible services, possibly by the end of 2013.

Further Details:

Top Tips for Improving Mobile Broadband Performance

How to Use Mobile Broadband - Vodafone

WiBE UK Mobile Broadband Signal Booster REVIEW

The next step is determining whether or not you can actually receive a broadband service. Most of the major fixed line cable / dsl / fibre optic or wireless services can be checked via our availability checker, although related ISPs usually offer a more accurate system via their website. Just take any "estimated" speeds with a big pinch of salt as you might well experience a lot less due to some of the previously explained factors.'s Fixed Line and Wireless Broadband Coverage Checker

Likewise you should assume that Satellite services will already be available to you (100% coverage) and the same often goes for Mobile Broadband too, although remote rural areas will often have trouble with the latter solution. Most consumers should gravitate towards either a DSL or Cable based service and only look at alternative technologies if neither are available and or fail to provide good connectivity.

What ISPs should I avoid?

By now you should ideally have a fairly good idea of what you need, what you should expect and what to look out for when picking a new broadband provider. also writes an annual recommendation list, which includes an editor's pick of the best broadband ISPs for any given year; this should further help in narrowing down your final choices (make sure to check our Special Articles section for the latest editions (usually released in January)); the 2011 version is linked below.

Editors Pick - UK Best Broadband ISPs for 2011

It's important to remember that there are no completely bad ISPs, only bad experiences, and often even some of the weakest providers will still manage to satisfy the majority of their customers. Put a different way, even the worst ISPs might deliver an excellent service to you, although obviously your chances of receiving a bad service will always be proportionally higher if you pick a lower rated provider.

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