Broadband is just a word we use when we're talking about any kind of fast Internet connection. It's as simple as that.
If you're reading this guide, the chances are that you already have an Internet connection and want to upgrade, or you're setting up an Internet connection at home for the first time.
If you already have an Internet connection, you probably connect to the Internet with a modem that plugs into your telephone line (often referred to as a dial-up connection). And you're probably no longer satisfied with the performance it offers.
If you're setting up an Internet connection for the first time, it really makes sense to go for Broadband right from the start, as the entry-level packages are generally much better value than the dial-up alternative.
A broadband connection is actually not all that different from a dial-up connection. The equipment is very similar - a different kind of modem, but still a modem, and in many cases the connection is still made through your telephone line. The difference is that you'll have an Internet connection that is always on, 24 hours a day. Normally you pay a flat monthly fee, no matter how often you use the Internet. And a broadband connection is much faster. How much faster?
You'll be able to do things that just weren't practical with a dial-up connection. You'll be able to:
- Watch video clips and listen to music in real time, including live broadcasts.
- Download music, software, film trailers and other files much more quickly.
- Play games online.
- Do everything you could do before, just much more quickly!
Not at all! First, you sign up with an Internet Service Provider (or ISP). The ISP will supply you with your Broadband connection. If you already have an ISP shop around other companies might offer you a better deal. If you are signing up for a contract, most ISPs will arrange a date to connect you up and supply you with everything you need to get started.
As well as connecting you up, most ISPs will send you a CD. All you need to do is put this into your computer and follow the step-by-step instructions. Some companies offer a home installation service and will send over an engineer to set up your Broadband connection for you.