uk residential fixed landline telephone and broadband services
by Colin Bryant, TelecomsAdvice
There are many providers but BT, Kingston Communications in Hull and Vigin Media (NTL:Telewest) are the main ones with local wires or cables - most of the others use BT Wholesale lines to provide an 'indirect' service where you have to predial a code, or more often by 'CPS' (Carrier Pre-Selection) 'direct' service. These alternative operators can be much cheaper for calls than the main operators and some will also provide line installation and rental at a discount - but it is still BT Wholesale which maintains it. Comparing costs can be difficult - minimum call or connection charges; 'capped' rates and varying rates for calls to mobiles and to 0845 and 0870 numbers; discounts for online billing and direct debit payment can make a big difference in the monthly bill.
The safe but generally higher cost option is BT through their BT Shop . But currently we consider the best value deals are from TalkTalk if you want a package including Broadband. The connection is through their own network if your local exchange has been enabled or by 'CPS' (Carrier Pre-Selection) so you don't have to dial anything extra - but if you make calls to specific international destinations or international mobiles you may want to check-out niftylist.co.uk for cheaper dialling codes.
For cheap Directory Enquiries we currently recommend 118 226 @ 23.5p per call (max. two enquiries per call).
If you have Broadband you may want to explore internet telephony by 'voip', say using Skype.. Between subscribers internet calls are free but if you have to call a normal phone you will have to buy credit. For video calls you will need a camera.
Residential Broadband Internet connectivityPlusNet - good Internet Service Provider (ISP) with UK based support - basic broadband from GBP10 but the GBP15 offer is better value for any but the lightest users.
TalkTalk - Broadband 'free' with a GBP20 per month telephone account where the local exchange has been 'unbundled' but GBP10 per month otherwise.
If you already have Sky or Virgin Media subscriptions then they may be best value for you.
Domain names, email and web spaceIncluded in your Internet connection you may have an email account and webspace for your own website. Most ISPs only give you basic webspace, charge more than you need to pay for domain name registration and not much choice or control over email. If you want these, go to 1&1 for good value domain names, hosting, website design wizards and configurable email with spam and virus protection.
Reviewed January 2011
last updated : 11/07/2011
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