There’s always a lot to think about when moving home, and these days that includes not just the usual address changes and dealing with utility suppliers but ensuring that you’ve got broadband sorted at the new place too. But with a little bit of planning and some research you can make the process go a lot smoother and eliminate some of the stress from moving day.
How fast can you go?
When you move home there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get the same speed, or even use the same provider, so you should look into this first to get an idea of what kind of services are available. Of course it might work in your favour and you could discover that a new home can get a much faster connection.
To begin you can simply query your existing ISP. Call them up and provide the phone number or postcode of the new property and they’ll be able to give an estimated speed.
There are also online resources which can provide some information. A basic postcode check using the comparison tools at Broadband Genie or SamKnows.com exchange search can tell you what kind of broadband may be on offer at an address. This will tell you a maximum speed based on the type of broadband but does not provide any more accuracy or detail - when you sign up for an ISP you will be given a more precise estimation during the setup process.
Broadly speaking, ADSL broadband tops out at around 17Mb, fibre optic internet can go up to 76Mb and Virgin Media cable internet currently has a top speed of 152Mb. If you get fibre or cable you can expect it to perform very close to the theoretical limit, but ADSL is far more variable and it can be much slower depending on the quality on your line and distance from the exchange.
5 things to look out for when getting broadband at a new home
- Minimising offline time
If transferring an existing service you should contact the ISP well in advance and find out how much notice they require. If broadband and phone are with the same network the whole process should be fairly seamless, but if you have separate providers you must contact the phone company first - they’ll provide the information you need to ensure the new phone line is activated at the same time as the broadband.
- Liaise with the current occupier
One thing that can delay broadband in a new home is the existing occupier not correctly cancelling their service. If this happens you could be waiting weeks for it to be unblocked and activated, so make sure they’re aware.
- How’s your wiring?
If you’re carrying out some work on a new property it might be a good time to examine the state of the internal phone wiring as poor quality phone lines can have a big impact on the performance of broadband.
- Save money with a triple play bundle
Getting phone, TV and broadband from a single provider can net a significant saving, and if you’re moving home and switching providers anyway it’s a good opportunity to see what deals are out there. There’s a much wider choice of TV services around now too. In addition to the premium satellite and cable offerings several ISPs offer very cheap TV deals which give you an advanced Freeview box with features like series linking, live pause and a library of movies and shows to stream.
- Setting up a home network
Wi-Fi networking is very convenient for sharing internet access throughout the home but you may discover that the construction (or size!) of the building makes it very slow in some areas. Placing the wireless router in a central location can help, but it can easily be given a helping hand with inexpensive Wi-Fi range extenders or powerline network adapters which use the electrical wiring to share a data connection through power sockets.
What’s the alternative to slow broadband?
While broadband access throughout the UK is generally pretty good there are still some areas which suffer from poor connectivity, where you might only be able to get very slow ADSL or even just dialup. Clearly that’s not acceptable in this day and age so here are a few options if you find yourself in this situation.
Broadband beamed down from orbit works anywhere within the (very large) footprint of the satellite, so as long as you can mount a dish you can get a reasonably fast connection. Consumer satellite presently offers up to 22Mb download and 6Mb upload, which is really good if the only other option is dialup.
The downside is that satellite has a very high latency which means there’s a big delay between data being transmitted and a response being received. It’s not something you’ll notice when browsing the web or downloading files but it can affect things like streaming video, online gaming and Skype calls. You can find more information on satellite broadband in Broadband Genie’s recent blog post.
Mobile broadband can now rival fixed lines for speed - 4G can easily beat ADSL and even exceed some fibre optic services and newly upgraded 3G is also a lot quicker. Because they don’t rely on a phone line you only need to be within range of a cell tower to get service...but that’s also the catch. Chances are if you can’t get a half-decent fixed line connection you’re probably not near a good 3G or 4G network, though there are efforts from some providers to extend their reach to rural areas.
Local broadband initiatives
Rural communities fed up with slow internet have taken it upon themselves to manage their own deployment of fast broadband, and ended up getting a better connection than many people living in large towns and cities. If you can gather local support then companies like Gigler can install very fast fibre optic connections at a reasonable cost.