The University of Bristol How to find the best student broadband deal in Bristol

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1 The University of Bristol How to find the best student broadband deal in Bristol Produced in partnership with Ofcom Accredited Cable.co.uk Fast, reliable internet access is an essential for productive student living. As well as providing a vital online resource to support your studies, you can do everything from connecting to social networks and streaming movies to carrying out everyday tasks such as shopping and banking and all that means broadband. But unlike sourcing broadband for a more permanent address, as a student you need to take into account a range of additional factors such as the length of your contract, how many of you will share the connection and what broadband speed you might need to ensure everyone gets the access they need. To help answer all of these questions and more, here is our guide to choosing the best student broadband package in Bristol. What type of broadband can I get at my student home in Bristol? Bristol s broadband infrastructure is one of the best in the country and whatever your location you re likely to have a wide choice of standard ADSL broadband, high speed fibre optic broadband and mobile broadband packages. Mobile broadband We ll start here because Bristol was one of the first UK cities to receive 4G mobile broadband - the latest and most innovative form of mobile broadband technology. 4G promises to increase the speed at which you can download data via a phone or mobile dongle - up to 10 times faster than current 3G technology. You can purchase 4G compatible dongles from EE (Everything Everywhere), the first company to roll out the 4G network. Other providers are set to follow suit, which hopefully will provide more competitive devices and service plans. However, it is important to bear in mind, that whilst the 4G network aims to deliver a super fast surfing experience, signal strength may be patchy in certain areas and can still be affected by surrounding buildings and even tree cover. You can ascertain if this will be an issue where you live in Bristol, or at any other address you may want to use mobile broadband regularly, by using EE s coverage checker. In addition, whilst mobile broadband might be suitable for individual use, if you plan to share a house with a number of other students, a fixed-line connection on a contract is likely to work out much cheaper in the long term. Furthermore, you may have the option to bundle your broadband with other services, such as digital TV services and a free evening and weekends calls package. There are two main types of fixed-line broadband you can subscribe to in Bristol: Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband ADSL is the most widely available broadband in Bristol as the signal is simply carried by your telephone

2 line. ADSL provides a good, reliable internet connection but the exact speed you ll receive depends on the broadband package you choose and your distance from the telephone exchange. The current maximum ADSL speed in the vicinity of Bristol University is 17 megabits per second (Mbps). Fibre optic broadband Fibre optic broadband offers much faster broadband speeds as it transmits data as pulses of light through glass or plastic cabling, unlike ADSL which relies on copper telephone wires. The top speed you can receive with fibre optic broadband is 120Mbps but this is only available in a few selected areas. The main advantage with fibre optic broadband is that it provides a fast, consistent connection regardless of how bandwidth intensive your activity. For a student house this is particularly important as it allows several users to download music, play games or surf the web simultaneously without slowing down your connection. Whilst fibre optic broadband is available in the majority of Bristol homes, it may not be available on your specific street. To find out which types of broadband are available, and to compare the best broadband deals, try entering your postcode into a broadband comparison website but do try use one that s been accredited by Ofcom to ensure the information is accurate. What speed broadband can I expect? Here is a very broad indication of the top speeds you can expect from ADSL and fibre optic broadband in some popular student areas in Bristol. It s important to point out that this is no guarantee of coverage, so always check your actual postcode. If you already have broadband, you can run a broadband speed test to find out if you re actually getting the speeds you re paying for! Bristol University Campus (BS2 8 postcodes) - If you are on campus, or based in student accommodation very nearby, you can currently access standard ADSL broadband with estimated speeds of up to 16Mbps and fibre optic broadband with an estimated top speed of 50Mbps. Bedminster (BS3 5 postcodes) - In Bedminster you may have a choice of standard ADSL broadband packages with an estimated speed of between 7.5 and 17Mbps, and fibre optic broadband with a top speed of 50Mbps. This includes areas such as Wingfield Road and St Johns Lane. Bishopston (BS7 postcodes) - In Bishopston in North Bristol you are likely to have choice of providers offering standard ADSL broadband with an estimated top speed of 17Mbps and fibre optic broadband with an estimated maximum speed of 50Mbps. This includes the popular student area of Gloucester Road (BS7 8). City Centre (BS1 postcodes) In Bristol city centre you are likely to have a choice of high speed fibre optic broadband providers offering packages with an estimated top speed of 50Mbps. Cotham (BS6 7 postcodes) - You should have a choice of standard ADSL and fibre optic broadband providers in Cotham. The estimated maximum speed you can

3 receive with standard ADSL broadband is 17Mbps, increasing to 50Mbps with fibre optic broadband in some areas, including Cranbrook Road. Clifton (BS8 postcodes) - If your student accommodation is in Clifton, standard ADSL broadband has an estimated top speed of 17Mbps, whilst the top speed for fibre optic broadband is 50Mbps. This is available in a number of streets around Clifton, including Chertsey Road and Portland Street. Hotwells (BS8 2 postcodes) - In Hotwells it s likely you can obtain fibre optic broadband with an estimated top speed of 30Mbps, this includes the popular student area of Hotwell Road. This is a good speed of connection if two or three of you are sharing a house, but a higher speed would be preferable for a very large house share. Kingsdown (BS2 8 postcodes) - Kingsdown is serviced by several broadband providers offering standard ADSL broadband with an estimated top speed of 17Mbps and fibre optic broadband with an estimated top speed of 80Mbps. Stoke Bishop (BS9 1 postcodes) - Despite being slightly further from Bristol city centre you can receive ADSL broadband with an estimated speed of up to 17Mbps and fibre optic broadband with a predicted top speed of 50Mbps, this includes streets such as Coombe Lane and Stoke Hill. Redland (BS6 6 postcodes) - In areas such as Cambridge Park you can receive fibre optic broadband with a maximum speed of over 70Mbps, which should be fine, even for four or five people sharing a house. Elsewhere in streets such as Clarendon Road (BS6 7 postcodes) and Ravenswood Road (BS6 6 postcodes), you can obtain fibre optic broadband with an estimated top speed of 50Mbps. St Andrews (BS6 5 postcodes) - In St Andrews, north of Bristol s city centre, in popular student areas such as Belvoir Road, Balmoral Road and Cromwell Road, several providers offer standard ADSL broadband packages with estimated speeds of up to 17Mbps and fibre optic broadband with predicted speeds of up to 50Mbps. What is the best download speed for a student house? Speed is an important factor when buying broadband as this will determine how quickly you can open applications, browse the web and download large documents. Speed is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) and the more people sharing a connection, the more Mbps you will need. If you live, or plan to live, in a shared student home in Bristol, then a high speed fibre optic broadband package starting at 30Mbps (and preferably higher) is the most advisable option. This means you will be able to do things like watch HD movies without any annoying buffering, even if everyone is on the internet at the same time. If your student accommodation is more compact and you are looking for a broadband package suitable for you and perhaps one other housemate, a standard ADSL broadband package with a speed of up to 14 Mbps may be enough to handle your download and upload requirements; even if you regularly enjoy activities that use a lot of bandwidth, such as streaming films or watching TV.

4 What length of contract is best? Choosing the right length of broadband contract is vital to ensure you don t fall foul of some hefty fees if you decide to cancel early. Standard broadband contracts typically run between 12 and 18 months. If you and your housemates intend to stay at your student address over the summer then a 12- month contract, or even longer may suit you and offer better value. However, if you plan to return home at the end of the academic year it may be worth considering a shorter nine-month contract, such as those made available for students by Virgin Media. Another advantage with this deal is that you don t need a phone line, which can add around 15 per month in line rental. If you move house in the middle of the academic year, then some providers offer three-month and even one-month broadband contacts, which can be a life-saver. However, you re likely to pay more up-front (e.g., for your installation cost) and a higher monthly fee. It's important to be aware that if you want to end your broadband contract early, your provider may impose a contract termination fee. This could mean your entire remaining monthly payments in one lump sum, so always check the contract thoroughly so that you know exactly what potential penalties you might face! Are there any other extra costs? When buying student broadband there are some important extra charges to take into account, including: Line Rental All broadband providers, apart from Virgin Media, will require an active BT phone line. This can add, on average, around 15 a month to the cost of your broadband package though deals are available if you buy your line rental in advance. Installation charge If an engineer needs to activate your broadband on site, providers often charge for this. This cost varies between providers, but are often around 50. Charges for breaching download capacity Unless you opt for unlimited broadband your broadband package will have a set download capacity. If you exceed this, some providers will charge you for every gigabyte of data you go over. Even if you choose an unlimited package you may still have to abide by the provider s fair usage policy (which can effectively mean a download limit), so always familiarise yourself with these before you commit. Modem/wireless router To start using your broadband you will need a modem and/or wireless router. Although technically free, you may have to pay up to 10 for delivery. Bill payment Providers charge a handling fee of up to 5 for any payment type other than direct debit so make sure you set one up ASAP.

5 e-billing You can save on average 35 a year with e-billing rather than receiving your bill via post. Join invoicing Finally, a word on invoicing. If at all possible try and get yourself and your housemates names all on the contract. Sometimes this isn t permitted, but, as with other utilities, sorting this out at the start can avoid awkward and unfair situations down the line.

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