Vista SP2 and Cheap Broadband

We have two things to discuss today; Vista Service Pack 2 and cheap broadband.

Starting off with Vista; those of you with this Operating System would be advised to download the Service Pack from or via Windows Update as along with fixing hundreds of little bugs and glitches it also adds a number of new features.Most notable changes include support for Via Technologies new Nano 64-Bit CPU, support for Bluetooth 2.1, BluRay writing directly from the Operating System and improved performance for WiFi connections.

This update is 348mb in size meaning that you would really need to be on a broadband connection to consider the download; this leads me neatly on to my next point.

I was contacted this week by a reader who was still using a dial up connection.I had assumed that this hardcore group of users had disbanded and joined the 21st century but it appears that I was mistaken.Try as I might, I cannot rationalise in my own head why someone would still be using dial-up; it’s slow, temperamental, ties up your phone line, and if you use it for more than a handful of minutes a week it can actually work out quite costly.

In order to reach out to these users (and indeed anyone currently on an overpriced broadband package) I thought it prudent to overview the cheapest broadband packages on the market; these represent a perfect stepping stone from dial-up.The following recommendations are suited primarily to light Internet users and as such I would not recommend them for intensive use such as gaming or heavy downloading.

Sky TV – Sky TV customers can get free 2Mbps Broadband with a 2GB usage limit when they also subscribe to Sky Talk (the most basic of which is free) for the phone calls.Of course you still have to pay your line rental to BT, as you would with dial up.While 2GB isn’t a particularly large bandwidth limit it will satisfy most home users and is in excess of what could be feasibly downloaded via dial-up in a month.

Talk Talk – Talk Talk is £6.49 a month in addition to your usual line rental and includes 8GB Broadband, a 40GB usage limit, free local calls and free national weekend and evening calls.The company has had a fair amount of bad press over the last couple of years mainly due to its unprecedented growth since its incorporation in 2003 but things seemed to have improved of late.If the planned merger with Tiscali goes ahead, Talk Talk will have become the largest residential broadband provider in the UK.

Tiscali – For £14.99 a month including your monthly line rental you can get up to 8GB broadband and unlimited free weekend calls.As BT would usually charge you around £12 for your line rental you are essentially getting a capable broadband package for less than £3 a month.

PlusNet – If you don’t fancy the idea of having your telephone calls handled by your broadband provider, the PlusNet Value package at £5.99 a month is an extremely competitive standalone package.With speeds up to 8Mbps, a 10GB daily download limit and an unlimited evening download limit the PlusNet deal is also surprisingly fully featured.

Before committing to a broadband package it might be an idea to first check out to compare a number of other deals on the market.Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t levy a set of charge all of them will provide the equipment you require and many of them will even chuck in a free wireless router; there really is no reason to stick with dial-up.


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.