The Cost Involved in ADSL Broadband – Can I Really Get Broadband for a Fiver a Month?
With so many options available when it comes to choosing a service provider for internet and broadband, this article advises you on the best deals that are currently available.
ADSL broadband is the technology that works through our telephone lines. There are many other types of broadband including mobile broadband, fibre optic broadband, and satellite broadband. The most widely available broadband on the market is ADSL and it is the most popular.
This article will take a look at what ADSL is and what the costs involved are down to the hidden, and not always very well advertised, additional expenses that you may have to pay.
What is ADSL broadband?
ADSL broadband is the broadband that passes through our telephone lines. We plug in a router to our BT telephone point and then we receive internet over the copper cables of the BT infrastructure. The limitation of the technology is that the distance from the telephone exchange dramatically impacts the speed that we’ll get in our homes at the end.
It may be that if we are a long way from the telephone exchange, we struggle to get any sort of level of connectivity at all. In comparison, if we are within 200 meters of the exchange we may get over 20Mbps and have speeds comparable to fibre optic broadband.
ADSL technology is set up using a Wi-Fi router or modem plugged in through microfilters into our telephone line. The microfilters are there to split the voice and data components of the line to prevent interference from voice devices. Therefore, you should have microfilters plugged in to every telephone port that has anything plugged in off it such as burglar alarms, faxes, or televisions.
The technology itself is some of the cheapest out there with broadband packages starting from a few pounds per month. You will, however, have to get a landline.
The Landline Costs
Because you have to have an active line for ADSL, you will have to pay landline cost. Landline rental normally amounts to around £12 to £15.50 a month and different providers offer different deals. With some providers you can receive three, six, or even 12 months free landline rental depending on the size of the package you take. The more services you take from the provider, such as is the case with a bundle, the more likely you are to receive additional discounts and often these are on the landline rental.
Landline Activation and Installation
If you haven’t got a landline installed, then you’ll have to have one put in for ADSL technology. This tends to costs around £130 per month but you may be able to get discounts or even have the fee waved if you’re committing to a contract with a provider. If you have your telephone line in but you don’t have it active, there may well be an activation fee of £30 which again may be waived depending on the package that you’re looking at.
The Monthly Costs
Broadband comes with a monthly cost that you pay by direct debit in most cases. This can range from £5 to £40 per month with the most expensive BT ADSL broadband connection costing about the same as the cheapest fibre optic broadband connection when you count in the landline rental. You tend to get what you pay for, and the more you pay the bigger the data allowances, the faster the speeds, and the better the quality of the connection.
If you’re looking for a truly unlimited broadband provider, then you should look for Sky packages, BE Broadband packages, and BT Broadband packages that will offer you the true freedom to do whatever you want on your internet without fear of having your traffic managed or your data stopped.
Fees for Non-direct Debit Payments
Some providers will charge you fees if you don’t pay by direct debit. If you choose to pay by credit card, cheque, or in any other means, then you may well be attracting £1 or £2 per month in addition to your normal costs. Indeed, you could even pay through the post office. Post office broadband was the first provider that offered the ability to pay over the counter.
Many broadband packages will offer you a free router, but there could be fees that are added on along the way. For example, some packages will offer you a free router but you’ll have to pay for the delivery charge. Other options will give you a free router but will state in their terms and conditions that it remains the property of the internet service provider. Therefore, you will have to return the router when you leave the service at your own expense or pay a charge.
Some providers will charge installation fees, especially if they have to come out and do anything with your set-up. Some will offer you free installation but will defer the payment and if you’d look to leave the contract within a certain stipulated period will then make you pay a fee. Some charges are upfront and pay back. For example, free installation may mean that you have to pay upfront and then after three months of successful billing you get your charges back. This doesn’t always work out for everyone.
Additional Data Costs
If you are on unlimited broadband package with a certain amount of data that you’re allowed to consume monthly, you can end up in carrying additional data fees if you overuse the amount in your package. This can be quite excessive, although they are much cheaper than mobile broadband data additional charges.
With BT broadband for example, you tend to pay £5 for every 5GB of additional data that you consume. If you don’t want to have these charges, then speak to your provider about limiting your accounts to the data usage so that you can buy an add-on if you need additional data to see you through the month at any point.
So there you have it, a look at some of the fees involved in broadband. It’s important to understand the true cost implications of a package so that you actually compare like for like otherwise, you may well be comparing one package that is perceived to be cheaper with another but end up spending a lot more over the duration of the contract.
It’s always important to look out for the costs of customer service and technical service calls as well. These can be quite excessive with some providers. It can also make a difference whether you call from a landline or a mobile and whether the landline is through the internet service provider itself.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sam Jones's neighbour was considering changing his landline provider. He found that sites like uSwitch were really helping when it came to making a decision.