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How to choose the best broadband deal

The internet, broadband, WiFi, 3G, 4G, soon coming 5G? It all can be very bewildering, especially if you are trying to get the best for your money, which as you have seen on my blog, we are always trying to cut costs without impacting our daily lives.

We have gone through many ups and downs with our broadband providers, some have great speeds but cost a lot, others not so good on speed but have saved us a bunch.

So where to begin?

Well, with a family of five, three of those being children, who all love their own thing from YouTube to streaming anime, Netflix and Prime, also myself who is constantly online for my blog and my virtual assistant work and a hubby who loves a movie and playing XBox, let's just say we need a good amount of speed otherwise there would be the howling moans that inevitably follow when something crashes, lags or doesn't work at all.

But our broadband needs will not reflect everyone's, so I advise everyone to look at how much they use and start from there.

If you stream a lot, have multiple people using your network, upload videos or even do online chatting to family or friends, I would advise to use a faster broadband service that suits your need and budget. Take note of the speed your plan offers and look at download vs upload speed - faster download speeds are typically used for more online activities like web browsing and gaming.

There are a number of comparison sites out there for the best broadband deals, which have useful filters including monthly cost, first year cost, but also the average speed of that provider.

We used to be with Virgin Media, and to be honest the speed was great but at a heavy financial cost, so we switched providers and halved our cost without having that much of an impact on our daily usage, but we are lucky as we have all the providers available in our area, if you live in an area or location that is rural or as my hubby say "in the sticks" then your choices may be limited.

To make things a little clearer on the "what speed do I need" question, that is quite difficult to answer without all the variables, but to help here's what you can take into consideration:

1. Standard broadband (uses the BT telephone network to supply broadband) generally have speeds from 5 - 16Mbps (megabits per second) but the average 10-11Mbps. What does this mean? If you were to be downloading an album from your music provider, it will take around 23 minutes on the 5Mbps to download the full album where on 16Mbps it will take about 7 minutes for the same album.

2. Fibre Optic (special cable network specifically for the internet) have speeds from 38Mbps but if you are one of the lucky few (2%) who have the fibre optic straight to your house that could go up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second) but the average is between 63 - 67Mbps which means downloading that album can be as little as 1 minute (or much quicker if you are that 2% customer).

Lee (my husband) has an app so he can check the internet speed every now and then as sometimes during the peak periods our broadband speed can be a bit lacking but he finds that by just resetting the router this improves the speed dramatically, but the app also lets him see what our average speed is so he can check whether we are with the right provider and has evidence should the speed drop below our guaranteed amount.

We are all about cutting costs in this house, but decent broadband is a must. Which provider do you use?

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