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Broadband for Home
 
Introducing broadband What it costs How to get it
In This Section...
Benefits in the home
Types of broadband
Self assessment tool
See the benefits
Internet security
Common Questions
Glossary

 

Common questions

Definition of broadband
What is broadband?
What are contention ratios?
What differences are there with a 150Kbps broadband service?

Availability
How can I get broadband?
Is broadband available in my area?
Do I have to be a BT customer to get ADSL?
Which companies are able to supply me broadband at home?

Cost
How much does broadband cost?
Will broadband save me money?
If I get broadband will I be charged for the time I spend browsing the Internet or sending e-mail?

Security
Are there any problems or risks I should be aware of if I get broadband?
Why do I need to install firewall and anti-virus software?

Changing your hardware/PC
Will I need to modify my computer system to change over to broadband?

 

Are there any problems or risks I should be aware of if I get broadband?
There are no serious problems in moving to a broadband connection. The biggest change is that your computer or network server will be connected permanently to the Internet and that means that other people could try to use the Internet connection to access your personal files and applications. This is a security risk and it is essential that appropriate security measures are put in place, such as a firewall to ensure that your information and systems are safe. Check out the Internet Security section on this site.

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Do I have to be a BT customer to get ADSL?
You do need to have a BT telephone line installed if you do not already have one, however, then you can get your ADSL service from another supplier.

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How can I get broadband?
There is a range of suppliers of broadband services in Scotland. use the Find a Supplier panel to find out which companies are able to supply broadband to your home.

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How much does broadband cost?
The cost of broadband varies depending upon the type of connection you need. The cost could range from under £20 per month for ADSL to over £50 per month for a home satellite connection. use the Find a Supplier panel to find out which companies are able to supply broadband to your home and then select the links to see their pricing levels.

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Is broadband available in my area?
Broadband is available in most locations, but the types and costs vary depending upon where your home is located. use the Find a Supplier panel to find out which companies are able to supply broadband to your home.

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If I get broadband will I be charged for the time I spend browsing the Internet or sending e-mail?
No, broadband operates on an 'always on' tariff format. So you can use it as much as you like for a fixed monthly price.

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What is broadband?
Broadband is a high-speed telecommunications link. Broadband is normally defined as allowing transmission at 512Kbps (Kilobits per second) or higher, compared to 56Kbps that is available using a dial-up modem.

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Which companies are able to supply me broadband at home?
use the Find a Supplier panel to find out which companies are able to supply broadband to your home and then select the links to see their pricing levels.

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Why do I need to install firewall and anti-virus software?
When you have a connection to the Internet that is 'always on', it's important to install 'firewall' software. This will protect against the possibility that a hacker could try to break into your computer and access your files. Anti-virus software will protect your computer from viruses that can cause serious data corruption. Your computer can pick up a virus from anything you download that has encountered that virus. Check out the Internet Security section on this site.

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Will broadband save me money?
It depends upon what type of connection you currently use, what your use of the Internet is and if you are presently paying a fixed price dial-up connection. Broadband services are normally a fixed price per month, irrespective of how much time you spend online. You will therefore know in advance how much your broadband access will cost you without the fear of any nasty surprises in the future.

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Will I need to modify my computer system to change over to broadband?
You will need to acquire a broadband modem and the software that goes with it but this is often provided by the supplier and included in your monthly fixed costs. You will also have to ensure that your computer or server meets the minimum requirements as specified by the broadband supplier. Your supplier will provide full details of what is required.

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What are contention ratios?
ADSL, cable modem, radio fixed wireless and satellite broadband connections are contended services. Contended services (or contention) means that you share the available bandwidth with a number of other users. Contention results in the amount of bandwidth available to you being dependent on the number of users online at any given time. For home broadband use, the contention ratio could be as high as 50:1. In other words, up to 49 other users share your bandwidth. At the moment, early adopters of broadband connections report excellent results, which are far superior to dial-up telephone connections. You probably don't need to worry too much about the impact of contention ratios, however it is good advice to choose a service which has the lowest possible contention ratio on the connection.

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What differences are there with a 150Kbps broadband service?
A number of companies are marketing a 150Kbps (Kilobits per second) Internet connection as broadband. This type of connection is approximately three times as fast as a standard telephone dial-up connection. Strictly speaking, a 150Kbps Internet connection is not really broadband, as broadband is normally defined as a minimum connection speed of 512Kbps, which is approximately ten times as fast as a standard telephone dial-up connection.

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