Broadband, phone and TV
Remember the days when your landline doubled up as your internet dial-up connection and TV consisted of four channels? Well, thank goodness those days are over. But 21st century living comes with its own set of complications – like the almost overwhelming choice of broadband, phone, and TV deals that are available. So, we thought we’d make life a little bit easier and help you work out what’s right for you.
All for one and one for all – is bundling best?
Just like the musketeers, good things often come in threes – like bundling your broadband, phone and TV into one package.
Grouping together some or all of your internet, phone and TV services is gradually becoming the norm and you might find yourself with not much choice if you want to buy each service separately. But there are lots of benefits to bundling – getting your broadband, phone and TV package from one provider isn’t just easier, it could save you money too.
Providers are keen to get as much of your business as they can, and may offer incentives such as discounts, vouchers and premium TV channels at reduced prices. Most of us have heard of the key players that offer broadband, phone and TV, such as Sky, BT and Virgin; but depending on where you live, you could also find packages from other providers such as Now TV, EE and TalkTalk.
What sort of package do I need?
If you’re buying all three services together, think about what your household needs out of each one. So, for example, when it comes to broadband, think about how much data will be used and how speedy it needs to be. To make things easier, here’s a look at things to consider when bundling broadband, phone and TV:
• Broadband – one of the key points to think about, is how much you use the internet. Internet usage is measured in ‘data’ so the more time you spend online, the greater the amount of data you’ll use. So, if your home is a gadget haven where everyone has their own laptop or tablet, and downloads lots of movies, TV, and music; then look for packages that give you unlimited data. Of course, unlimited data comes at a cost, but getting limited data packages and then going over that limit, could cost you even more.
Speed, is the other broadband element you’ll need to look at. But depending on where you live, you might not have a huge amount of choice as speed is limited to what’s available in your area. There are three main ways that broadband can be delivered into your home – ADSL, cable and fibre optic.
ADSL is the most common but it’s the slowest; the fastest is fibre optic broadband and sitting somewhere in-between is cable. Around 89% of homes have access to superfast broadband but if you live in the countryside, that drops to just over half (59%).
• Phone – using your landline might seem so last century, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for a great deal on your home phone. It sounds basic but look at how much a provider charges for local, national and international calls, or calls to a mobile. Some packages also offer free calls during certain times, to certain numbers, or to those on the same network as you. Things to watch out for with your landline, include line rental and connection charges, so make sure you factor these in when you’re doing your sums. Most packages require a landline but it’s probably more important to think about what you really need. If you already get a lot of minutes with your mobile deal you might just need the most basic line option. But if you have family abroad and think you need the international discounts, you might want to consider using Skype/Facetime instead to save money and get unlimited broadband instead.
• TV – when it comes to TV, there are more channels than you can shake a stick at. Making your channel choices is a bit like deciding on breakfast options on a menu and you’ll usually be able to tailor the mix to how you like – whether it’s sport, US drama, kids’ channels or films.
Some bundles also offer access to TV on demand (such as BBC iPlayer) through digital TV apps as well as to other subscription services like Netflix. If, on the other hand you’re not too fussed about particular channels, then Freeview bundles (which offer free digital TV) might be the best (and most inexpensive) bet.
If I agree to something, how long am I committed for?
Ultimately, that depends on the contract – so always read the small print. The most usual contract lengths range from 12 months through to 18 months.
Many deals come with ‘introductory offers’ which offer a reduced price for a certain length of time. If this is the case, then make sure you know when that period ends and how much more you’ll have to pay. Unfortunately loyalty doesn’t always pay when it comes to broadband – it’s best to search the market as soon as you’re out of your fixed deal to make sure you’re not paying over the odds.
How do I find the perfect bundle?
If you’ve already experienced the joys of bundling and are looking for a new deal, then we can help you switch provider. Or, if you’re still not convinced, then find out more pros and cons to combining all three.
And if you’re feeling a bit geeked out with all the talk of broadband speed, or fibre, and you don’t know your ADSL from your ISP, then brush up on what it all means and impress (or bore) your friends. Because, when it comes to finding your perfect bundle, we’re here to help you comparethemarket.com.