PC Advisor Broadband Survey 2008
Broadband connection speeds, subscription prices and terms vary hugely - as do customers' experiences. Our annual broadband survey, sponsored by Broadband Genie, lets you have your say about your ISP. PLUS: advice on how to get better-value broadband.
However, a new connection option has opened up with the advent of flat-rate and pay-as-you-go mobile broadband. As you'll see from our reviews of the five mobile broadband providers' 3G offerings, all mobile internet services are not created equal. A growing number of consumers and business users are relishing being able to enjoy broadband without it being tied to either a landline phone service with BT or a carrier pre-selection service such as TalkTalk.
There are some issues with mobile broadband, though. The main problem is that the service can be patchy and connection speeds vary wildly. If you're simply switching from a landline ISP to a 3G mobile subscription, you'll probably be shocked by the reduced download and upload speeds. You may well find you can maintain a connection only in certain parts of the house.
All of the mobile operators offer postcode and address checkers on their websites so you can establish the levels of 3G coverage you're likely to get before you buy. We strongly advise you perform such a check before you go ahead and sign up for one of these dongles. While you have the usual right to return a product within 14 days of purchasing it if it turns out not to be suitable, having signed up for a contract you then need to extricate yourself from it and start all over again with another provider. As with fixed-line connections, a typical mobile broadband subscription runs for 18 months.
Another aspect that mobile broadband has in common with ADSL is that there's a huge range of subscription options - choose the tariff and data allowance carefully, particularly if you're looking to replace your home broadband line with a mobile one. Some subscriptions offer only 1GB or 2GB of bandwidth per month - enough for checking your email regularly and keeping up with the news, but no good for downloading, sharing photos and sending and receiving documents of any significant size.
If there are two or three specific locations in which you're likely to want to use your mobile broadband connection, check these out as soon as possible. If you can get online at home but subsequently find that web access is impossible on your daily commute, it may be that a mobile broadband subscription suddenly loses its appeal.
NEXT PAGE: around and about
- PC Advisor Broadband Survey 2008
- 2008 broadband trends
- Going mobile
- Around and about
- Mobile madness
- Bundles of fun
- ISP loyalty
- Changing ISP
- Hard lines
- Mobile broadband
- Best broadband bundle
- Best broadband only deal
- Best overall ISP & Top 20 UK Broadband ISPs