Choosing the Best Home Broadband Package For You
Looking for a new home broadband package or provider? There’s a lot to think about – not least speed, cost and contract length. And with all the deals and options on offer, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your home and your budget.
Before you shop around, it’s worth taking stock of what exactly you need. Think about how many internet-connected devices you have around your home – it might be just a computer, phone and TV, or it could be many more. How many people are using them? What for, and how often? And what might you want to plan for in future?
This will give you a good starting point for knowing what you need from a home broadband package. In this guide, we’ll go through the other key points you need to bear in mind:
- What is broadband?
- What broadband should you get?
- How much data do you need?
- Understand broadband speeds
- The broadband speed you need
- Broadband for small households
- Broadband for families
- Broadband for gamers and streamers
- The right broadband contract length
- Home fibre broadband available in your area
- How to choose the right broadband provider
What is broadband?
The world today as we know it cannot work without broadband.
Broadband is a high-speed internet connection that allows us all to access and enjoy all kinds of services, businesses, entertainment and information through our laptops, tablets, phones and TVs. Everything from films and drama series to news, shopping, emails, music, video calls, multiplayer games, council services, college courses, social groups, school reports, charities, garages, doctors… The list goes on.
We can also use broadband to connect devices for security, heating, utilities and health and fitness.
Originally carried through the landline phone network, a broadband connection enters your home and connects to a box known as a router or modem. This in turn then connects with your internet-enabled devices around the home via a physical cable or Wi-Fi.
The internet connects us and our devices to each other, and the rest of the world. It’s that simple.
What broadband should I get?
The kind of broadband – or more accurately the type of connection – you should get will depend entirely on your needs as a household. The most common factors you and most other broadband users will want to consider are:
- Price – No surprise that this is the number one factor with most people. None of us wants to pay more than we need to for our broadband, and we all want value for money. Think about what you realistically want to spend each month, based on the options available from various providers balanced with your household budget.
- Speed – Broadband comes in various speeds, each defined by the amount of data (measured in megabits) transferred per second (also known as Mbps). Faster broadband speeds will enable you and your household to do more things at once online and can mean downloading a large file (like a game) can take minutes instead of hours. The faster your connection the more expensive it will be.
- Number of connections – The more devices and people connected to your broadband supply, the faster the connection you will need to ensure everyone can use the internet free of lag or buffering, especially in a smart home.
- Reliability – With the internet now an essential household utility, you’ll want a consistent, continuous service and a fault-free line. Take the time to delve into customer reviews and feedback, especially in harder-to-reach areas.
How much data do I need?
While reputable fibre broadband providers have no limit on the amount of data you can use or transfer as part of your service, you do need to think about how much data (in terms of megabits per second or Mbps) you will need as part of your day-to-day use.
Individually, each of your devices might not seem to need very much in terms of bandwidth. But if you have several devices all connected and working at the same time, you might find the speed of your broadband line struggling to keep up with the demand.
Understanding broadband speeds
You’ll now know broadband speed will be an important factor in your decision-making process around your home broadband package. But when we talk about ‘speeds’, what does that cover?
This is the speed at which you can download files from elsewhere on the internet, in Megabits per second (Mbps). The term ‘files’ covers many things, from emails, photos and video clips to larger things like games, movies, applications, HD designs, PDF versions of brochures and more.
The faster your broadband, the more quickly you will be able to download these files. And the difference can be surprising – what might have taken two hours to download on an old broadband line can now take just a minute, or seconds, if you have one of the faster connections.
This is the same as for downloading, but in reverse. When you want to share pics, upload reels to social media, post a longer video or send large work documents to clients or colleagues, you’ll need a faster connection to do so quickly rather than wait hours.
Upload speeds are typically around a quarter that of download, but some providers do offer synchronous speeds – the same for upload as download – which is great for gamers and streamers.
How the number of users affects speed
Different devices and services – from gaming consoles to films, video calls, office connections or music streaming – require varying data transfer speeds in order to work properly. If you’re a smaller household of one or two people, you might not be using many of these at once. But, as mentioned, if you have a larger household, then you may encounter issues if everyone is online at the same time.
When looking at home broadband packages, a general rule of thumb is to allow 10 Mbps per user in your household for daily use – increasing to 20 Mbps per user if they are gaming or streaming high-quality videos or movies – and then double it to allow for ‘breathing space’ in the connection. This will avoid a bottleneck at peak times like evenings.
So, if you have a household of five people, you might get along fine with a minimal 100 Mbps broadband connection if everyone uses the internet modestly. But if you all try gaming or streaming UHD-quality videos all at the same time, you could need anything up to 900 Mbps.
Time of day
You might also need to factor in peak times when everyone is likely to be home and online in the evenings, or times during the day if you’re running a business from home.
How do I know which broadband speeds I need?
A ‘good speed’ for your home will depend entirely on what you use the internet for, and how often. You’ll want a connection that is fast enough to handle everything your household needs, but also isn’t so fast that you end up paying for capacity you simply don’t require.
Below, we look at the three most common kinds of domestic internet users and break down the likely broadband speed they’ll need.
Broadband for small homes
Those that live alone or as a couple with just the basic requirements for their broadband will only need the simplest of connections to get a good service. Taking into account internet browsing, emails, social media, posting pics, watching videos, making video calls to family and friends. and you could be happy with a modest 20-35 Mbps.
While this really is for the most basic use, and does not take into account spikes when you need greater speeds for things like online gaming or large downloads. Anything outside of routine may cause buffering, lag and take a long time.
Jurassic Fibre’s basic Smarthome 150 package would easily accommodate your needs.
Broadband for families
An active family – perhaps with teenagers streaming music and gaming online, adults working from home and watching live sports, and smart devices connected to the internet – will need a lot more capacity at all times of the day for everything to function normally.
The last thing any of us wants to hear is the moans and shrieks of frustration when the broadband slows down to a snail’s pace when everyone is online. To avoid family tantrums, look for a service that offers around 150-300 Mbps. But, again, this is not allowing for spikes in use and, even though you’re looking at much faster speeds, there will be times when you’ll want the performance guaranteed by higher capacity.
Our SmartHome 450 package would be the perfect deal for the active online family, offering great value for a very fast service.
Broadband for gamers and streamers
Lag is the bane of many gamers’ lives, costing many a missed shot, over-run corner or unfinished Minecraft build. The actual speed you need for the gaming stream to function properly may depend on the console you’re using. This said, you might be surprised to know that the bare minimum recommended by many console manufacturers is just 3-4 Mbps to connect online and run the most basic games.
However, if you are into high-definition multiplayer games using large worlds or maps, then it’s a different story. Consoles like the Xbox Series X recommend at least 10 Mbps for typical use, but you will likely need more depending on the number of people online in the game. Many gaming sites recommend an unlimited fibre broadband line with upwards of 25 Mbps if you’re gaming alone, or at least 100 Mbps if you live in a busy home with lots of people online, for the best experience using modern consoles.
Also, when it comes to downloading a game to your console, a faster connection will save you a lot of time. A 100 GB game will take 5 hours to download on a 50 Mbps connection, but only 28 minutes with a 450 Mbps line.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that games are only going to get more and more detailed, immersive and play in 4K as time goes by, requiring more memory to operate and demanding ever-faster broadband speeds to function smoothly. It could be worth thinking ahead and investing in our SmartHome 950 package, especially if everyone at home could be gaming, streaming, calling or watching UHD movies all at the same time.
How do I choose the right broadband contract length?
As with broadband speed, the best contract length for you will vary according to your circumstances. Most providers typically offer one-year or two-year contracts, with prices reverting to a higher rolling rate once the contract period is over.
If you shop around or get offered a cheap deal for a longer, two-year contract, then it could make sense to lock that in for the duration. A two-year deal will mean you know for certain what your outgoings will be for broadband over that time, and prevent any industry-wide price hikes impacting you until a future date.
On the other hand, a one-year deal will give you a little more flexibility and may be a preferred option if you know that other, cheaper, higher-quality services will be available in your area in the near future. The deal might not always be as attractive as a two-year plan, but will still be decent value.
Once a contract has lapsed, a rolling monthly plan can be ideal for the flexibility it offers, especially if you might be moving house soon. But it will always be the most expensive option, so do shop around.
Jurassic Fibre offers contracts of 24 months for fixed price deals, or just one month (rolling) on a standard rate.
A lot will also depend on which providers are active and available in your area, and the infrastructure already in place. Not every location enjoys fibre broadband yet, although our networks are always expanding!
Can I get full fibre home broadband in my area?
Broadband services will vary from location to location, depending on the demand and how quickly the mainstream or alternative providers have been able to install the cables in certain areas.
To see all the areas we cover in the South West, click over to our locations page. You could be closer to us than you think! Give our office a call on 01392 345600, one of our team will be waiting for your call.
Once booked in, you should be online within 15 days. See our article on the installation process for a complete breakdown.
How to choose the right broadband provider
A company who knows your area and understands the concerns and issues locally, as well as the people, will always be the best provider. They’ll know and love where they live, support local businesses and causes, and will want to do the right thing by their customers.
Before choosing a provider, check out their reviews online and pay attention to feedback on their customer service. This will be a major factor if anything goes wrong or you want to upgrade or downgrade your contract – problems are rare, but you’ll want to know that your provider’s team will actually care about getting it right when it matters.
In the South West region, Jurassic Fibre is proud to cover all the above bases and has been one of the recent ISPs to deliver full fibre broadband to Dorchester. We’re a local company run by experienced professionals with years of insights into the industry as well as engineering and support staff all based nearby. There’s no other provider like us, and our home broadband package deals offer great value.
Why not take a look at our full range of home broadband services, with prices starting at £25 per month for a two-year contract on our entry-level package.
Concerned about switching providers? We’ve got your back. Read our full article on how to change broadband providers to see what our team advises and make the process as painless as possible.