Choosing a broadband provider for home use in the UK is not trivial, particularly if you want reasonable flexibility in bandwidth and connect a few PCs. Many providers allow just a single computer to be connected, or have low transfer limits of 1-2GB per month, which is easily used up when transferring photos, music or movies. The ISP should also include things like email addresses, email via POP and IMAP, etc.
To address the two most common offerings, here are my findings:
* BT‘s basic offering suffers from the fact that you cannot connect more than one PC to the connection, and there is a limit of 1GB per month. It costs £20 per month.
* AOL‘s Basic offering is £20 per month, is only 256k, and also does not let multiple computers use the system.
The review sites highly recommend Vispa as a good ISP. They have a convenient 512k package called “Simpology” Wireless Pack that includes a DSL modem that is also a wireless access point, software, email addresses, anti-spam and anti-virus software, etc. The monthly cost is £25, and there is a startup fee of £130, including the hardware, a SafeCom Wireless ADSL router. There is no bandwidth restrictions on this service.
An interesting option is offered by MetroNet, who have a pay-as-you-go service. The PayGo500 option costs between £11.75 and £23.75 per month depending on usage – but for the high price, you get unlimited usage. There is an activation fee of around £60 that does not include any hardware, so we have to buy a DSL modem/router, which costs around £100 as well. But this service includes no email addresses, etc, which is a problem unless you have an alternative way of getting email.
NDO also has a good DSL offering, and I quite like the Home500 UpFront package. It costs £20 per month, and has a setup fee of £65, without any hardware. The service includes 512k speed, a 20MB POP mailbox with aliases, and 24/7 support.
Demon has a service called Express Solo, which offers 512k and no bandwidth limitation for £25 per month and a £50 setup fee without a modem. This service includes unlimited POP3 spam-filtered mail accounts.
Finally, Plus net seems fine; they are the ISP that I use. They have a Broadband Home option that starts at £15 per month for a 512k connection – to increase the 1GB limit to unlimited bandwidth brings the cost to £22 per month, though. Activation for a yearly contract is £58.75. The service includes unlimited email addresses, web space, etc.
It’s not an easy choice – and then we need to choose a wireless DSL modem too!