Alternatives to landline broadband

The vast majority of UK residents connect to the Internet using ADSL broadband, a reasonably robust technology that piggy-backs on the landline (a wired phone line) for the house. That's all well and good, but the proliferation of mobile phones has made the landline a bit of an inconvenience for many people. When you want someone to call you back, do you rather given them your mobile number or home phone number? The convenience factor of the phone in your pocket often wins out. This then leads to the next question: "Why should I keep paying that £12-odd per month for my landline when I only really use it for my broadband?" Well, there are alternatives to ADSL broadband, and here is a summary.

Go fibre!

If you live in a city or large town then you may be able to get a new land-based connection. So-called "super-fast broadband" is provided by larger ISPs such as Virgin Media, BY, Sky, EE and Eclipse.

Fixed Wireless broadband

A growing number of service providers are setting up wireless base stations in more rural locations, with the aim of supplying line-of-sight wireless broadband to communities that are below the fibre-optic radar. You need special wireless equipment mounted in a prominent location on your house, but otherwise it should be hassle-free.

Satellite broadband

You may be surprised to hear that it's possible to send satellite signals from your home as well as receiving them. You need a special dish (but nothing large) and there is a large latency - around a second - when making a new request for a webpage and so on, but once you have a connection the upload and download speeds are very high. It's best for situations where there's uploading and downloading of large chunks of data, and not so good if you do lots of little requests.

3G/4G broadband

Don't assume that 3G and 4G are only for mobile phones! They certainly occupy the lion's share of mobile broadband usage, but it's quite feasible to install a 3G/4G router in your home. 3G and 4G signal strength varies considerably, however, and will usually be weak or non-existent in rural communities. Compounding that with the limited speeds and strict usage limits, makes this a distinctly last-resort option!


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