It has been a quite a while now since I last got up on to my soap box and banged on about the advantages of broadband and how all but the most infrequent Internet users should consider making the move. A lot has changed over the last months and broadband rollout across the UK is continuing at a commendable rate with the speeds and availability of the technology continuously increasing. It has been said that by summer 2005 99.6% of the UK will have the ability to connect to broadband if they so desire.

I believe that when writing my last article I submitted it by e-mail to the Herald Express on my 512kb connection and today I will be sending it via a 1mb (1024kb) connection which doesn’t cost me a penny more; I am essentially getting double the speed that I was getting before for exactly the same cost. Along with the generally faster speeds there are a number of new advantages such as the connection and modem almost always being free of charge, a number of companies that will sign you up with little or no commitment along with the advantage of their being a selection of speeds available to suit all requirements.

In Torbay as you may know we have two distinct choices for how we connect to broadband; BT customers can choose from the many independent suppliers that now clutter the market whereas Telewest users are required to use the Telewest Blueyonder service on their line. I could be mistaken but I believe that with all new exchanged that have been activated that pretty much anyone who is reading this article should in theory be able to get broadband now if they so wish.

I personally am not a fan of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) AOL in the slightest but in order to demonstrate what good value broadband is, let us take two AOL packages and compare them. If you didn’t want to have broadband you could have AOL unlimited dial-up for £15.99 a month which would give you your standard 56k dial up and would tie up your phone line whenever you wanted to surf the net. Alternately for an extra £2 a month you could take AOL broadband and get a connection that is not only 10 times faster than the first option I mentioned but also allows you to use the phone at the same time as browsing the Internet. The broadband option works out at around 50p per week more expensive which let’s face it is affordable to even those with shallow pockets so those of you on a similar dial up package really should consider the swap.

Of course there are those of you who simply pay as you go and so rather than a monthly fee you simply pay around 1p per minute evenings, 4p per minute daytimes when you use the Internet. In this instance you require to take a look at your phone bills and work out quite how much money you spend on such a service to decide whether broadband is right for you. Of course you also need to consider that if you were to have broadband then it may open up new possibilities such as playing games online, downloading music and watching films that you wouldn’t have considered using dial up for and therefore rather than just making things faster you may actually get more of a benefit from the Internet than you do currently.

Rather than me recommending specific suppliers I would suggest that you visit as there is a wealth of information available along with broadband news, ISP reviews and comparisons.

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