Most students will have used their parent’s broadband until the start their first year. This means that many students are looking into broadband for the first time and may be somewhat overwhelmed. Students need to have broadband because the internet now plays a vital role not only in studying but in general campus life.
What is UK broadband for students?
Many UK broadband providers offer special student broadband. The actual service you get with this broadband is the same as any other but the costs are generally less. The reason for this is the fact that students usually do not have the same expendable income as other people. There are some other aspects of student broadband that you should also be aware of.
- The contract terms for student broadband are different from normal. It is often possible to get a contract for 9 months which covers term time. This makes them less restrictive for students than the average 12 to 24 month contracts.
- The cost of the broadband deal is generally lower than normal. Many providers offer student discounts on prices which can lower the cost to around £10 per month.
However, when looking at UK broadband deals for students you should know that they may not be the best for your needs. While the terms may seem attractive you should also consider the speed of the connection and the overall service you will be getting from the provider.
Looking at the speed
The speed of your broadband is very important because this determines how fast websites load and downloads run. Video and music streaming is also affected by speed. Most students are tempted to simply take the fastest speeds but you have to be careful when doing this.
You should know that the speed advertised is not the speed you are going to get. While some people will get that speed around 90% probably won’t. There are a number of factors which can affect the speed you actually get including:
- The distance from the phone exchange.
- The quality of the wiring in your home.
- The number of people using the broadband connection.
- The speed your area infrastructure can handle.
Experts in the broadband field recommend that you take the speed you should get and divide it by the number of other students you will be sharing with. This should give you a rough estimate of the speed your connection to the broadband will run on. While this might drastically reduce the speed of your connection you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Unless you are a heavy user of the internet high speeds are not a requirement.
Students are known to download a lot of data. This could be through the use of media streaming, gaming or peer to peer websites. When you are looking at UK broadband deals for students you need to make sure you understand the download terms.
Most providers will have a download limit on their packages. If you go over this limit you could be facing large fees. It is not only the limit that you need to look for but any fair use policies as well. If you are going to be downloading a lot then you should know that your provider may have the right to throttle your connection.
Throttling connections is the way that broadband providers ensure that everyone gets to use the internet fairly. When you connection is throttled the speeds will be reduced causing a slow connection. You should not only look at your internet usage but your housemates as well. Getting a package with the correct download limit can save you money in the long run.
Looking at a bundle
It is possible to get student broadband as part of a bundle as well. Bundles often include broadband, the home phone and TV services. These deals often work out cheaper than getting everything separately. Another benefit of these bundles is that you are only paying one bill each month to one provider. This is often beneficial as student life can become hectic.
Finding the best deals
No-one has the time to call or go to all the providers. In fact most people don’t even have the time to check all the websites for the different providers. If you are one of these people the using a broadband comparison site is one way of easily finding broadband deals. Of course you will probably have to contact the provider to see if you can get a student discount on the overall price of a package.
Setting up your broadband
Once you have found the best package you will need to go about having it set up. There are two ways that you can do this and one is much easier than the other.
- Setting up the hardware yourself. If you decide to go with this option you will need to get the router and other hardware from your provider. You then have to connect everything and configure the router yourself. This is ideal for students who are moving into a place that already has all the cables. This is often not an option if you are getting fibre optic broadband.
- Get the provider to do it. Most providers are willing to send out a technician to set up your broadband for you. Some providers may not even charge you for this but most will. The advantage to this option is that you don’t have to do anything.
When setting up your connection you must ensure that you have set a password. If you don’t protect your connection anyone will be able to log on and use your data. This can slow the speed of your connection and you could reach your data limit faster.
How do you pay?
You may be wondering how you are supposed to pay for your student broadband. The best way is through direct debit as you will not be charged any additional fees. If you are living with other people and they agree to cover part of the costs have them send the money directly to your bank account before the date of the debit order.