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Are Luxury Broadband packages worth it?

In a market where ISPs are offering ever-cheaper broadband, free routers and even free laptops, why would you ever consider a high-end, luxury broadband package?

Increasing numbers of broadband users are starting to feel the strain of their “free broadband” package where reliability can be an issue, promised speeds are not achieved and customer service almost non-existent.

Paying a bit more for your broadband can not only alleviate these issues, it also means you can experience the internet at its fullest with faster download speeds, minimal downtime and priority customer service.

Michael Phillips, product director at explains exactly what you can expect from a “luxury” broadband package.

  1. Speed: With the top package in the UK now offering speeds of 24Mb, this is perhaps the biggest attraction for many users. High-end providers will not provide services if you are a certain distance from the exchange so you can expect more of your promised speed.
  • Priority network access: Broadband providers have the ability to control traffic across their networks. Some ISPs will use this technology to prioritise Internet usage, speeding up your surfing and downloading.
  • Lower contention rates: Most residential broadband connections have a contention rate of 50:1, which means that 50 people will be sharing a broadband connection at any one time. Luxury broadband packages offer 1:1 lines so there is no contention - the line is all yours, so you’re far more likely to achieve your top speed.
  • Priority customer support: Many luxury broadband providers offer 24/7 support on free and local rate numbers.
  • A free static IP address: Meaning you can remotely access your home computer from anywhere in the world, run your own website or have your emails sent direct to your PC allowing you to get rid of your Yahoo! or Hotmail accounts and set up an address with your choice of domain name.
  • High download allowances: Customers on “unlimited” broadband packages could find their bandwidth being restricted if they exceed what the company considers to be “fair usage”. There is some argument therefore that it is better to sign up to a package that might be more expensive, and have a download cap, but where users will be guaranteed not to have their broadband throttled.
  • Free security: Many of the more expensive packages offer comprehensive free security suites from known names such as McAfee and Norton. While you shouldn’t choose a package for the free security software, this is a great feature of high-end broadband packages.
  • No-contract broadband: Some of the more expensive packages will allow you to avoid the long tie-in contracts that cheaper companies rely on to make their money. This means that if you only need broadband for a few months or just want the freedom of not having to sign a contract, you can simply leave whenever you want.
  • Better hardware: While almost every ISP is offering a free modem or router when you sign up with them, you should think about the quality of the hardware you’re receiving and whether it will be able to handle your Internet habits.
  • No port restrictions: Certain applications use particular ports for access to the Internet. These applications tend to be bandwidth guzzlers so some providers restrict the traffic through these ports in an attempt to protect other users from your downloading. However, this vastly slows down your application. Some providers block them completely. If this is a concern to you, go for a provider that won’t do this sort of thing.
  • Désiré Athow

    Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.

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